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Sienna's story


Sienna of Mahanoy City is a survivor.  She gained that title in 2008, then not even 2 years old, when she battled cancer – and she has been earning that label every cancer-free day since.

Sienna was just an infant when her parents, Shannon and Santino, noticed that she was not eating much and had swelling in her stomach. 

After doctor visits and tests, the news wasn’t good.  Sienna had cancer.  Mesoblastic nephroma-a type of kidney cancer, to be exact.  Shannon and Santino feared they would lose their only daughter.

The tumor weighed more than 4 pounds – a little less than half of Sienna’s entire body weight.  Janet Weis Children’s Hospital oncologist Dr. Jagadeesh Ramdas suggested an intense chemotherapy plan that would begin immediately.

Despite the difficult treatment regimen, Sienna remained very calm and collective.  Her mother remembers being overwhelmed with the devastating events, but still finding solace within her daughter’s smile.

“The whole time she was sick, she would just look and smile all of the time,” Shannon says. 

After seven weeks, chemotherapy had shrunk the tumor to half its original size and it was able to be removed surgically, although Sienna’s right kidney would need to be removed as well.

While the surgery was deemed a success, Sienna’s battle wasn’t over.  She continued thorough follow-up treatments with Geisinger Pediatrician Dr. Kane in Pottsville on a regular basis, with appointments 2 to 3 times a week. 

“The courage and strength of Sienna and her entire family is absolutely remarkable,” recalls Dr. Kane.  “She always had a smile on her face every time she came into the office.”

Today, Sienna is able to live a healthy life.  She enjoys singing, dancing, and playing with her older brother, Sonny. 

“She took everything in stride,” Dr. Ramdas says.  “Now, she is doing everything a young girl should be doing.”

Children’s Miracle Network at Geisinger provides funds for medical equipment to help doctors treat cancer, as well as for items such as recliners in the patients’ rooms. Children’s Miracle Network at Geisinger also helps fund Camp Dost, a program of the Ronald McDonald House of Danville that allows children battling cancer to experience all the fun and activities of a typical summer camp.

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