'Strong, Intelligent' LI Girl, 10, Battling Leukemia; Fundraiser Made

RIDGE, NY — A 10-year-old girl from Ridge is battling acute myeloid leukemia.

Aubrey Thomason, 10, was rushed to the emergency room two days after Christmas when she lost feeling in her arms and legs and unexplainable bruises appeared on her body, said her aunt, Nicole Luckert.

Luckert created a GoFundMe to help Aubrey’s family with medical bills and expenses. More than $20K has been raised as of Thursday.

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People can donate to help the Thomason family here.

“Honestly, without the GoFundMe, I would have been probably going into foreclosure on my house already,” Patrick Thomason, Aubrey’s father, told Patch.

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The fundraiser has helped pay the mortgage on the family home purchased a few years ago. The money also helped the Thomasons purchase a wig for Aubrey from Highline Wigs, as well as fun things for Aubrey. It also funded a genetics test needed for acute myeloid leukemia patients that Aubrey’s insurance didn’t cover.

Aubrey just finished the second of four to six chemotherapy cycles. She is facing the third cycle next week. She has been spending one week at home and three in the hospital since her diagnosis and has approximately four months of the pattern to go.

Aubrey feels good but a little nauseous, Patrick said.

“She’s doing well. She’s handling everything very well,” he said.

Patrick described his daughter as “strong, intelligent and beautiful.” Her strength is what has kept him going, he said.

“The first week, I was devastated,” Patrick said. “I wasn’t as strong. But as the times go on and I see how she’s reacting to things and how she’s good, that makes me happy. When she’s happy, I’m happy. I try to keep things going by doing arts and crafts with her, doing Legos with her, things she likes.”

Aubrey is a fan of “SpongeBob Squarepants,” “Stranger Things,” and has recently gotten into horror movies — especially those by Stephen King. She is a fan of 90s cartoons, like her father. She loves playing with Legos and doing arts and crafts, too.

“It’s pretty fascinating artwork for her age,” Patrick said. “She’s definitely going to be an artist. She loves animals. She plans on being a veterinarian.”

The family has three dogs and a cat.

Aubrey shared a message for everyone else facing what she is.

“Stay strong,” she said.

In December, when Aubrey was hospitalized, doctors found her numbers were “dangerously abnormal,” Luckert wrote on the GoFundMe. Her red cells were extremely low and her hemoglobin was down to a three, while her white blood cells were elevated.

Aubrey was quickly admitted to the ICU where she had to receive five blood transfusions and multiple rounds of platelets to stabilize her system so she could undergo a bone marrow biopsy. The results revealed she had acute myeloid leukemia.

“The news was absolutely devastating to her parents Patrick and Melissa, and her stepparents Jenn and Mark,” Luckert said.

Aubrey’s diagnosis has led to her parents missing some work, medical bills and other expenses.

“Worrying about money should never be added to the already high stress level and trauma of having a sick child,” Luckert wrote. “Please donate if you can, and if you can’t, prayers and well wishes would be gratefully appreciated. I will keep you all updated through Aubrey’s long journey ahead. Much love and deep thanks!!”

Maggie’s Mission, a charity founded by Donna DeSousa-Schmidt in memory of her daughter, Maggie, paid a full month’s mortgage for the Thomason family. Patrick said it is hard to get anything cheap in the current market.

“Maggie’s Mission has helped me tremendously, and I do thank them from the bottom of my heart,” he said.

Maggie’s Mission has been funding cancer research and helping families in need since 2017 after Maggie died of malignant rhabdoid tumors on June 1, 2017. She was 17. DeSousa-Schmidt says the charity fills a need in the pediatric cancer community many cannot understand or comprehend unless a loved one is diagnosed with cancer.

“Sometimes a tragedy happens and people are there to greatly support in the beginning, but then the support fades,” DeSousa-Schmidt said. “The reality for families that are facing caring for a sick child with something like cancer don’t get that kind of support, because the support needed is ongoing. Even if they survive the cancer and the treatment, there are long-term effects on a family’s finances, mental health, and more. Even our own family.”

Shelley LoRusso, founder of Olivia Hope Foundation, said her foundation also plans on helping the Thomason family.

The foundation was created in memory of Olivia Hope LoRusso, who died of acute myeloid leukemia in 2017 at the age of 12.
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Olivia’s mother, Shelley, co-founded the charity with Amy Nikolai, Linda Donato and Lauree Vasta. Olivia’s sisters, Gianna and Sabrina, are also integral members of the foundation. Olivia Hope Foundation dreams to cure childhood cancer while helping children who are fighting the disease.

Patrick said he is planning on asking Olivia Hope Foundation for Aubrey to become an Olivia Hope Hero and have her story highlighted by the charity.

Patrick said he has got nothing but positivity for Aubrey’s journey ahead.

“We’re just trying to keep our head above water,” he said.

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