Delaney Newton is a spunky girl by all accounts. She laughs, she plays with her younger brother and smiles. Her toothy grin in the picture above still manages to make appearances, though currently from a hospital bed.
The 2-year-old was admitted to the hospital on Sept. 9 and doctors told her parents, Janice and Merlin Newton that she had a brain cancer the next day. On Sept. 12, Delaney underwent 12-hours of surgery to remove the tumor, which doctors confirmed was cancerous and on Monday, Oct. 7 the young girl began chemotherapy.
“She’s getting so much better the past few days before chemotherapy; laughing, smiling, getting her physical therapy,” says Travis Newton, her uncle. “It was hard to think they were going to make her sick Monday.”
According to doctors, little Delaney will be in and out of chemotherapy for the next year, Newton says. A lumbar puncture done last week came back with no cancer cells in her spine, so that’s hopeful, he says.
Little but Fierce
For every day that she is in the hospital, her parents post an inspirational quote on her headboard. One of the first was one by Shakespeare: “And though she be but little she is fierce.”
The quote became part of the journey and was incorporated into T-shirts her supporters have purchased and wear.
“It’s fitting,” Newton says. “She’s two-and-a-half and has undergone more medical procedures than most people do in their lives.”
A snapshot of these procedures was posted on the Team Delaney blog, created by her uncle:
- 29 total days admitted to hospital
- 22 days in the PICU
- 2 operations (1 for brain tumor resection, 1 central line placement)
- 1 Biopsy for tumor
- 2 MRI scans
- 3 CT scans
- 1 EVD placement for CSF drainage
- 7 X-ray scans chest/abdominal
- 1 complete blood transfusion
- 1 lumbar puncture
- 6 IV placements (4 at one time)
- 1 arterial line placement
- 1 foley catheter
- 2 EKGs
- 1 echocardiogram
- 1 renogram for kidney function
- 4 sedations separate from operations (2 for MRI, 1 EVD removal, and stitches removal)
- 2 NG tube (feeding tube) placements
- 2 surgical dressing changes
- 1 wheelchair for mobility challenges
- 4 transports by ambulance
It Takes a Village
The Newton’s family, the Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department where her father works, as well as the community at-large have also played a large role in helping keep spirits high.
Travis Newton noticed the outpour of support and desire to extend a hand since Delaney’s diagnosis and decided to create the Team Delaney blog to keep supporters in the loop. T-shirts were also sold, at the fire houses at first and then to the greater community for $10.
“I had been looking at other sites and the various stages of grieving and knew that a lot of people were going to bombard them (Janis and Merlin) with questions,” Travis Newton says. “They are such generous people. They’ve lived in Livermore their whole life, so many people here in town care about them.”
Both Merlin and Janice grew up in Livermore, one attending Granada High School and the other Livermore High School. The two married three years ago.
The desire to help Delaney and her parents kept coming up in emails and messages so Newton created the Facebook page. Within days there were 500 “Likes” and Newton was being overwhelmed with phone calls and messages asking how people could help, so he created a YouCaring.com fundraising page, to help support the family, who currently is living out of the hospital room.
Within the first day, the page met its $5,000 goal.
“The support from the people has just been unbelievable,” he says.
The goal was then moved up to $20,000, with a $15,000 challenge among firefighters at Newton’s work. If met, firefighters would shave their heads in support of Delaney. The fundraising site was at $19,152 when this article was published and four firefighters shaved their heads on Tuesday.
“The haircut, as silly as it is, they want to help and support the family,” Newton says. “It’s really nice to see them rally around one of their own because they do treat them like family. The fire department is just like you see on TV: it truly is a brother/sisterhood. The guys on his crew, they were there the entire day when we were waiting for her to come out of brain surgery. They come by on a daily basis. They bring meals. They really rallied around them.”
Donations have come in from as little as $5 to as much as $1,500 at a time and everything is much appreciated by the family, he says.
“No amount is too little,” Newton says. “We’ve had complete strangers donating because they have been touched by her battle against this. The community around it, people have been contacting the page going though similar things, groups are reaching out. It’s creating a network.”
The Newton family would like to send special thanks to the Nurses at Oakland Kaiser PICU, oncologist and neurologist team.
To read more about Delaney's journey, reach out or donate, visit: