Wilton girl, 6, has cancer on the ropes


WILTON – After months of hospital visits, 6-year-old Savannah Hurley’s cancer is now in remission after high-dose chemotherapy treatment and a stem-cell transplant.

“She’s doing fabulous … Everything is in remission now,” her mother, Melissa Hurley, said Friday as the family drove back from the Maine Children’s Cancer Program in Scarborough.

In 2005, the petite Savannah, dubbed Princess Savannah, was diagnosed with Wilms’ tumor, a form of kidney cancer, and had one kidney and her appendix removed. A year later, the cancer returned and had spread to her lungs.

Earlier this year, after chemotherapy treatments, doctors decided to remove a cancerous nodule from her lung after it failed to shrink.

Savannah’s form of cancer is rare, but it’s also rare for it to relapse, her mother said.

They’re hoping the stem-cell transplant will help hold the cancer at bay. “The hope with a stem-cell transplant is hope for a cure that it will never return, but there aren’t any guarantees with childhood cancer,” Hurley said.

Savannah, who has a fondness for storybook princesses, was the reason Cushing School students and staff in Wilton wore pink on Dec. 1. The colorful display was meant to support Savannah while she underwent chemotherapy. That night, however, Savannah was rushed back to the hospital with a severe infection that has a 50 percent mortality rate, her mother said. She spent nearly three weeks in the hospital, and then went through nine weeks of high-dose chemotherapy treatment and the transplant. She’s been home since April.

Savannah had been in isolation and not allowed to have exposure to the public, but she learned Friday that she now can play with friends who are healthy, Hurley said.

With a tutor helping with school work, Savannah will enter the first grade when school resumes in the fall. “She’s very excited,” Hurley said.