INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - A day after highlighting a foster child's fight against cancer - and against a bureaucracy that she said has delayed her access to treatment – there is hopeful news to report. Wednesday, a judge signed an order allowing the teen to have more chemotherapy treatments.
Quinnasha, 14, lost her arm to cancer more than a year ago. Now the cancer is back. And three weeks ago, doctors gave her options for treatment: pain meds and hospice, or chemotherapy
For Quinnasha, the choice was easy.
"I want to have chemo. I'm ready for this fight again," she said, emphatically.
But Quinnasha said her fight has been delayed by a bureaucratic system that requires a foster child to get a judge's approval for treatment in cases like these.
DCS spokesman Ann Houseworth said in a statement: "DCS does not require approvals prior to ANY medically necessary treatment for a ward."
But she did acknowledge that "when a critical case juncture is reached" in a case involving a life-threatening condition, approval is needed.
It's a process that has frustrated Quinnasha and her foster mother. But neither is giving up. They're planning a party on Sunday to celebrate Quinnasha's being given a chance to fight for her life.
"This is a party to celebrate the journey and to celebrate the fight, because what I've told her, it's just a new journey," said Paulette Nellems, Quinnasha's foster mother.
The party celebrating Quinnasha's journey will be Sunday at 5pm at American Legion Hall 148 in Fort Wayne.
A note from the journalist, Deanna Dewberry:
I must disclose that I first met Quinnasha in November 2010 in the lobby of my oncologist's office. It was my first visit with my doctor after learning I had breast cancer . Quinnasha had just had her arm amputated and was visiting her surgeon. At the time, she was a traumatized little girl who was having an emotionally difficult time adjusting to a disfiguring surgery.
Over the last year and a half, I've watched this resilient little fighter come a long way. She summoned the courage to try out for cheerleading, even when other students teased her, telling her she couldn't be a cheerleader with one arm. She made the squad, and she says the same determination that fueled her courage to face students who taunted her will be with her in this latest battle against cancer.
I learned that Quinnasha was facing a delay in getting chemotherapy when I called to check on her Monday, Feb. 13. I believed then, and still do, that the complications she faced in fighting cancer as a ward of the state merited a news story.
Because of the laws that govern the confidentiality of foster children, (specifically IC 31-33-18), the Director of DCS, James Payne, has refused an interview regarding Quinnasha's case.
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As a tribute to veterans, the Indiana American Legion dedicated a new flagpole at the governor's residence on Saturday.