Sharing Mayo Clinic

Stories from patients, family, friends and Mayo Clinic staff

Share this:

Feb 21, 2014 · Leave a Reply

Her Relay: Overcoming a Childhood Tumor to Being An Advocate for Life

By SMHNadmin @mayoclinic

Written by Erin Mobley, Adult BMT Data Specialist at Mayo Clinic in Florida

Erin Mobley at the age of 7 in 1993.

Erin Mobley at the age of 7 in 1993 on News Year's Eve (left) and Easter Sunday (right).

I wanted to go skiing for my seventh birthday, but instead I celebrated in the hospital with family and friends, and a pediatric oncologist. 

Two months earlier, in September 1993, on my first day of first grade, I had gotten sick and had a large amount of blood in my urine. I remember my mom picking me up early from school and taking me to the pediatrician, who promptly sent us to the hospital. Scans revealed a tumor about the size golf ball in my bladder. Using the latest technology available, doctors biopsied the tumor and determined it to be rhabdomyosarcoma, a soft-tissue sarcoma.

I had surgery the next day and soon began chemotherapy as an inpatient, using a treatment protocol established by what is now the Children’s Oncology Group (COG), an international organization devoted to childhood and adolescent cancer research. The chemotherapy treatment regimen required me to spend every other week in the hospital.

My wish to ski came true in March 1994 thanks to Dreams Come True, a local organization that helps children fighting life-threatening diseases fulfill their dreams. My family and I traveled to Winter Park, Co., where we skied, rode snowmobiles, went tubing and built snowmen! The real joy for me was being able to take a break from treatment and just be a kid. Of course, it gave my parents a vacation, too!

When we returned to Florida, I started my week-long treatments again. But about a month later we received news that turned my life around. The slides from my tumor had been under review by a special committee at COG, and it was determined that I did not actually have cancer. Rather, I had a benign inflammatory myofibroblastic tumor, which has characteristics similar to other soft-tissue sarcomas but had never been reported in a child as young as I was.

Immediately chemotherapy was stopped, but for the next three years I had follow-up visits just to make sure I remained healthy and another tumor wasn’t developing.

Erin at the 2013 Katie Ride for Life

Erin at the 2013 Katie Ride for Life

Because of what I went through as a child, I realized how this experience impacted me and how thankful I was to the people who helped me. I decided I wanted to work in health care so I could help people the same way others helped me. I earned my bachelor’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling Services and my master's of Public Health from Florida State University. Today, I work as part of the Bone Marrow Transplant team at Mayo Clinic’s Cancer Center.

I believe my past experiences give me a unique perspective and connection to others battling cancer. While my job doesn’t allow me to engage with patients as much as I’d like, I hope that my work in research and quality improvement is 500 Internal Server Error

Internal Server Error

The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.

Please contact the server administrator, [email protected] and inform them of the time the error occurred, and anything you might have done that may have caused the error.

More information about this error may be available in the server error log.