Fundraiser Benefits Woodbury Infant Diagnosed with Cancer

Updated: 02/15/2013 6:46 PM KSTP.com By: Jennie Olson

It’s every new parent’s nightmare, and it became a reality for one Woodbury family.

Jacqueline Carlson was born by emergency C-section in November 2012 – five weeks premature and already diagnosed with cancer.

Although a team of doctors from around the country has been investigating Jacqueline’s condition, there is still no firm diagnosis of the tumor discovered on her left shoulder. The latest possible diagnosis is that the mass is a sarcoma cancerous tumor.

The tumor was removed in mid-November, and Jacqueline has been in the operating room more than 10 times in her short life. She has already overcome one round of chemotherapy at five weeks old.

As of Monday, Jacqueline is now in the Infant Critical Care Unit after spending 68 consecutive days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis. She still has an open wound where the tumor used to be, but her grandfather, Kevin Joyce, says that if doctors can close the open wound, Jacqueline has a better chance of being able to go home.

Joyce says that because doctors don’t know what the tumor is, they don’t want to give Jacqueline more chemotherapy. They are now monitoring Jacqueline’s condition and a potentially cancerous spot that’s attached to her clavicle bone. They are hesitant to scrape the mass off her clavicle bone because premature babies’ bones are too fragile and she risks losing an arm, he says.

Jacqueline was also born with a condition called Hydrops, meaning she had fluid around her lungs and suffered from breathing problems. Doctors have since drained the fluid and controlled her breathing.

“Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis is one of the best places to be for a newborn premature baby with this condition,” Joyce said. “To be able to have that resource in your backyard in the Twin Cities – in our daily lives we take that for granted. You don’t realize until something happens to you or to someone you love how valuable that resource is.”

Tara Carlson, who is Jacqueline’s mother, lost her own mother to cancer just four months before delivering Jacqueline through an emergency C-section. Jacqueline is named after Tara’s mother.

“Tara lost her best friend and confidant,” Joyce said. “Emotionally and mentally she has been struggling with all of this.”

Joyce says one of the hardest parts about this ordeal has been not knowing what Jacqueline needs.

“I watched my wife suffer for two years,” Joyce said about her cancer diagnosis. “Adults know what’s happening to them and can make choices and decisions and tell you if they’re in pain, but this baby can’t tell you if she hurts. She doesn’t understand what’s going on. This has been ripping my heart out.”

To help support Jacqueline’s family during this difficult time, community members are invited to attend a benefit fundraiser for Jacqueline. The evening will include a spaghetti dinner, a silent auction, a raffle, and drinks.

The fundraiser takes place from 2-6 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 17, at Guardian Angels Catholic Church in Oakdale. Tickets cost $10 for adults and $5 for kids ages 6-12. The proceeds will help cover the medical expenses being incurred for Jacqueline’s treatment.

To make a cash donation, please send a check payable to:
“For the Benefit of Jacqueline Carlson,”
Mail to:
Anchor Bank, 1920 Donegal Drive
Woodbury, MN 55125
(or drop off at any Anchor Bank Twin City location)

To stay updated on Jacqueline’s progress, visit: caringbridge.org/visit/jacquelinecarlson.