Mullenix student diagnosed with cancer

In a small corner at the bottom of the third page of the Mullenix Messenger, the monthly newsletter of Mullenix Ridge Elementary, the school’s Parent Teacher Association (PTA) gave a brief update on Sara Turley, a third-grade student at Mullenix Ridge who was recently diagnosed with Stage Four Neuroblastoma.

Below a list of planned fundraisers and support information is the address for a Web site where one can meet Sara for the first time.

According to her family, Sara was diagnosed in November 2004.

“The cancer was first identified in her left leg, infecting most of the femur,” the site says. “CAT scans also showed a smaller spot on a right rib.”

According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), “Neuroblastoma is a solid cancerous tumor that begins in nerve tissue in the neck, chest, abdomen or pelvis, but usually originates in the abdomen in the tissues of the adrenal gland. By the time it is diagnosed, the cancer usually has spread (metastasized), most commonly to the lymph nodes, liver, lungs, bones, and bone marrow.

“Neuroblastoma is predominantly a tumor of early childhood; two thirds of children with neuroblastoma are diagnosed when they are younger than five years of age.”

Turley has Stage 4 Neuro-blastoma, meaning the cancer has spread to the far reaches of her body such as her lymph nodes, bone, liver, skin, bone marrow or other organs.

Sara and her family, residents of Port Orchard, have relocated to Seattle, where she is required to remain during her treatment at Children’s Hospital.

According to her family, Sara endures five-day-long treatments every three weeks. She will continue treatment for over a year.

“In short, the treatment plan is for 12 to 14 months,” the Web site says. “This includes an intensive regimen of chemotherapy, surgery, blood replacement, stem cell transplant and radiation therapy.

“Stems cells are extracted from her blood, frozen and then replaced later. Once in remission, radiation treatment may be used to target any large masses and surgery may be needed to remove remaining tumors.

“The goal is to remove as much of the cancer cells using chemotherapy, surgery and radiation treatment and then to replace the stem cells damaged by the treatment. 

The plan also calls for frequent blood replacement during her treatment.”

On Jan. 22, the Mullenix Ridge PTA will sponsor a luncheon fundraiser at the East Bremerton Outback Steakhouse.

For more information on Turley, to read updates and find out how to support and contact the Turley family visit

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