This Little Girl With Down Syndrome Who Beat Cancer Twice Is the Definition of "Survivor"
In her two short years of life, Grace Rosian, a toddler from Strongsville, OH, has battled more health issues than most people will see in their lifetime. After her mom Valerie Rosian gave birth to Grace via an emergency C-section, she and her husband learned that their beautiful daughter had Down syndrome. But unfortunately, the shocking news didn't stop there: Grace also had a form of leukemia that's most prevalent in babies with Down syndrome. The family now faced several months of treatment at Cleveland Clinic Children's in Ohio.
Valerie told POPSUGAR that as an older mother, she didn't get prenatal testing because she wanted a child more than anything — health issues or not. But she admits that getting Grace's leukemia diagnosis really did a number on her as a mom.
"It was the hardest punch to the gut I've ever experienced in my life," she said. "As if someone stole my breath. I lost my childhood best friend to leukemia at 9 years old and I had flashbacks of all the horrible things I witnessed her go through as a child. My heart was shattered. I quickly found faith in God and I did a lot of crying and praying."
Despite being born at only 33 weeks, Grace started undergoing chemotherapy treatments at 2 days old, and Valerie knew that road to recovery was going to be hard and long.
"Other than giving her all the love I could, I just prayed, and trust me, I did a lot of praying! This kind of stuff is out of my hands, and I knew that's all I could do."
"I wasn't allowed to hold her or touch her for a little while, but when I was able, I did a lot of skin-on-skin contact, I tried to nurse her or at least pumped milk so that I could give her all that I had to offer her to help her heal," explained Valerie. "I would sit beside her or hold her when I was able and read to her or play her music. I wanted to be the safe haven for her, a break from all the needles and strangers poking her."
After two months of treatment, Grace was declared cancer-free, and finally, Valerie was able to breathe easy for the first time in weeks. Unfortunately, Valerie's happiness was short-lived. As soon as her baby girl started to get comfortable at home, she became sick once more. Doctors finally told her family that Grace had developed acute myeloid leukemia after running a battery of tests.
At that point, Valerie relied on her faith to get her through the dozens of hospital visits and treatments: "Other than giving her all the love I could, I just prayed, and trust me, I did a lot of praying! This kind of stuff is out of my hands, and I knew that's all I could do."
She also decided to get the word out about Grace's struggle on social media. She created a fundraising Facebook page called Fight with Amazing Grace Rosian, which gave updates on her fight against cancer.
Thankfully, after months of poking and prodding by doctors, Grace's cancer finally went into remission for the second time. She was released from the hospital on March 21, World Down Syndrome Day, and although Valerie feels beyond blessed, she still has a lot to process emotionally.
"I don't even think I can put into words all of the emotions a parent goes through. I've always been known as a strong person. I guess when you're in the thick of it you don't think about what you're doing, you just do what you have to do because that's what needs to happen for your child. I am still processing a lot of what's happened."