The word “warrior” seems too tame to describe Amanda Monteiro, a volunteer with The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS). She’s fueled by her desire to prevent another child from being diagnosed, another parent from having to say goodbye.
Monteiro knows that pain too well: her daughter Edie was diagnosed with infant AML-M7 at just 14 months old. Edie’s cancer was so aggressive that Monteiro says she went from seemingly healthy to critical in just four days. The sheer aggression of Edie’s cancer disqualified her from the latest trials and treatments, which themselves were still in their early stages.
Monteiro fought valiantly on her daughter’s behalf. Like all parents of childhood cancer patients, she became Edie’s historian and record keeper. She quit her job in fashion and retail to provide her precious baby girl the best round-the-clock care she could. But within 6 months, Edie lost her cancer battle.
Remarkably, there was hope the day Edie departed when, just 11 hours after losing Edie, Monteiro gave birth to a healthy baby girl. Fueled by that glimmer of hope, Monteiro picked up the fight where Edie left off and volunteers with LLS Children’s Initiative, which seeks to make clinical trials and treatments accessible to children. Such trials may have worked for Edie if not for the fact that on average, it takes children 6 years longer than adults to access clinical trials. Monteiro wants to shorten that gap because frankly, Edie and so many like her simply don’t have that kind of time.
Of all the worthy causes for such a warrior to fight for, Monteiro says LLS is different. “LLS has such a reach and a history of really bringing novel therapies to markets and making a huge impact.” Monteiro lives her life now to make the biggest impact she possibly can. “[LLS] gives us hope. It’s too late for Edie, but it’s not too late for the next kid.”
Written by LLS Story Volunteer, Kessler McLaughlin