But recently Delaney has been eating her Cheerios, drinking her chocolate milk and watching movies from a hospital bed. On Sept. 9, Delaney's parents, Janice and Merlin Newton of Livermore, took their baby girl to the hospital and the next day Delaney was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Two days later she endured a 12-hour surgery to remove the tumor. She started chemotherapy Oct. 7.
As I read Delaney's story I couldn't help but think that the words "tumor," "surgery," and "chemo" are so incongruent when talking about a tiny girl whose biggest concerns should be making sure she knows where her blankie is and that her parents know she wants to go to Disneyland. Really, really wants to go to Disneyland.
Her family and her father's colleagues at the Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department have rallied around Delaney and her parents who, in addition to coping with a situation no parent should have to, are living in hotel rooms and raising Delaney's 1-year-old brother. The people of Livermore, where Janice and Merlin grew up, are also reaching out to support the family. There have been fundraisers, including selling T-shirts that say "Team Delaney" and a "haircut challenge" at the LPFD.
Overwhelmed by the community's tremendous amount of support and desire to be kept up to date on Delaney's progress, Delaney's uncle, Travis Newton, created a blog, a Facebook page and a YouCaring.com fundraising page. Donations, kind words are prayers immediately started pouring in from friends, relatives and total strangers from all over the Tri-Valley.
"We've had complete strangers donating because they have been touched by her battle against this," Uncle Travis wrote in a letter to supporters.
The blogs Janice, Merlin and Travis update are filled with inspirational quotes, and Janice and Merlin posted a quote on Delaney's headboard for every day she is in the hospital. According to Travis, one of the first quotes was by Shakespeare: "And though she be but little she is fierce."
"The quote became part of the journey and was incorporated into T-shirts which her supporters have purchased to wear," Travis wrote. "She's 2-and-a-half and has undergone more medical procedures than most people do in their lives."
If you want to read more about Delaney and stay updated on her progress, visit the Facebook page or the YouCaring page.