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Christi's Spirit Club

You Are Missed

Christine Shayna Thomas “Christi”, the beloved and cherished daughter of Shayne and Angela (Falter) Thomas was called home on September 19, 2006 at the tender age of 9.  For four straight years Christi battled Neuroblastoma - a childhood cancer. She bravely fought with the strength of a soldier while maintaining the grace and beauty of a ballerina - teaching life’s lessons along the way. She will forever live on in the hearts and minds of thousands around the world who knew her both in person and through her website which recorded her incredible journey.

Christi's Funeral Video Online
Thanks to the wonderful people at Traunero Funeral Home and
Digital Dreams, LLC you can now view Christi's funeral online
(High-speed connection and Internet Explorer is recommended).

Christi Thomas Memorial Fund
The Thomas family has established a memorial fund in honor of Christi, Heaven's new Angel. Click here if you would like to make a contribution.

Television Interview
WTOL, Toledo's News Leader, ran this TV story on Christi the day of her funeral.

Christi Remembered
October 6, 2006 article from the Advertiser-Tribune.

Christi's Obituary
(Requries Adobe Reader)

March 2005On September 11, 2002 , Christi Thomas was diagnosed with neuroblastoma – stage IV (the worst of the worst). For a bright, active, outgoing five year old girl that was thought to be perfectly healthy, her family and friends were shocked and stunned!!

Heidelberg's Lemonade Girl!

Click on the above picture to read the wonderful tribute to Christi from her friends at Heidelberg College.

Heidelberg College Newspaper
Check out who made the front page of the September 29, 2006 Kilikilik!


Click image to read the story. Requries Adobe Reader

Blog for Christi!!!
www.christithomas.blogspot.com

That's right Christi fans, she now her very own Blog. Visit and you can send comments directly back to the Thomas Team on postings.


Christi Made the News (AGAIN)!

Reporter Melissa McCrady visited the Thomas Team to help celebrate their first Thanksgiving together since 2001. Click here to read the story and check out the new video!


Running for a Cure!

Thanks for helping Shayne raise nearly $4,000 for Fred's Team – raising money for pediatric cancer research, and sponsoring his run in the 2005 New York Marathon!


Christi Made the News!

On September 24th Christi was featured on Toledo's NBC 24 News for her lemonaide stand at Heidelberg College.
Click here to see for yourself...
Go Christi!!!!!

(She also made the front page of the Advertiser-Tribue too!)

Click to play video"Dance, Ballerina, Dance!"

Christi, age 8, (far right) performs at the Dance Unlimited ballet recital June 2005.

*Please note, this requires the free Apple Quicktime Player. We recommend that you have a high speed Internet connection before trying to view this movie online.

A letter from the Vatican!
Click for larger image.
One of Christi's "Prayer Warriors" sent a request for prayer to the Pope at the Vatican for Christi... and got a response. Thanks Brigid & Cecelia. Check it out!


Thank you life-saving blood donors!

Blood drives held by the American Red Cross in Christi's honor have been a tremendous success.

Please consider giving the gift of life at Christi's next Blood Drive to be held on:

October 21, 2005
9 am - 3 pm

Hospice
Tiffin, OH

Read articles online from the last blood drive. Click here to read them now!

3rd Annual C.T. Poker Run!
Click for larger image.

Held on June 4, 2005, this fundraiser raised money for the Make a Wish Foundation.

“ALEX & CHRISTI’S LEMONADE STAND”
Click for larger image.

Very generous folks contributed to Alex's Lemonade Stand Fund for pediatric cancer research on Friday, June 10, 2005 at the Old Fort Bank. THANK YOU ALL!!!


Children's Hospital of Philadelphia's Division of Oncology honored Christi by featuring her as the February Artist in their 2005 "Courageous Kids Calendar".

Calendar funds went to Oncology research. All of the artwork was done by patients at CHOP.


Volvo Helps Keep Alex's Dream Alive

Click here to read how CT.com's faithful webmaster helped raise money for AlexsLemonadeStand.com by taking a Volvo for a test drive. Thanks Volvo!


Cancer's nothing to cheer about, but Christi is!

Cheering at the 9th annual Attica Fair Cheerleading Competition.

Christi Thomas, had her lemonade stand set up on Friday, June 25th at the Old Fort Bank - Westgate Branch (across from McDonalds) in Tiffin. All donations went to to Alex's Lemonade Stand Fund and will be donated to pediatric cancer research. Christi became friends with 8 year old Alex Scott, who also suffers from neuroblastoma and treats at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, last August. To find out just how much money Christi raised, click here... you'll be impressed!

On Sunday, April 18, 2004, Christi along with her CCD class of 12, received the "Sacrament of the Eucharist" as she made her first Holy Communion on a warm and sunny morning in a church packed with love. A beautiful reception for about 100 loved ones followed in the church basement. Praise be to God!!

Make-A-Wish Japan ArticleCheck out the article on Christi and her Make-A-Wish trip to Japan. Click here to read.

NEWSFLASH!!!


Click on the picture above to check out Christi's new greeting cards!

The National Childhood Cancer Foundation* has honored Christi with her own greeting card. They are only $10 per box and proceeds go to help fight children's cancer research.

*Click on the Note Cards link on the NCCF page if you are not taken directly to Christi's Flower cards.

Columbus, Ohio
The Ohio Council of Teachers of English and Language Arts (OCTELA) just announced their state-wide winners for last year's writing contest.

CHRISTI THOMAS, Republic Elementary School, won first place for her poem entitled, "Nature". Congratulations to six year old author Christi! She received a $50.00 savings bond.

Click here to read her poem, entitled Nature.

Click here to check it out
Christi is one of two kids on February's "Featured Child" list for the site Fight For A Cure.

Make A Child SmileChristi was one of their January 2002 "Featured Kids of the Month... check it out!

Neuroblastoma is a rare cancer of the nervous system striking about 600 children in the U.S. per year. There are no genetic or environmental causes; it appears to strike at random. Seventeen years ago this was 100% fatal. Christi’s cancer spread beyond the tumor around her heart and along her spine and was 98-99% packed in her bone marrow. Upon diagnosis, she was given a 35% chance of surviving five years and a much lower chance of surviving 10-20 years. A friend of Christi’s Daddy (Wonderful “Webby” Eric) soon volunteered to establish and maintain this website in order to keep family and friends informed about Christi and to request prayers for her life.

Click for bigger picture.From September to December 2002, Christi endured four rounds of intense chemotherapy on Protocol #3891 at Children's Hospital in Columbus - two hours from her home. During this time, she was in strict isolation (no school, church, visitors, etc.) While her tumor shrunk considerably, the cancer in her bone marrow remained. She was given a 10% chance of survival if drastic treatment plans were not made.

Therefore, it was deemed medically necessary to transfer Christi's care to New York City 's Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center . This world renowned hospital sees more neuroblastoma patients each year than any other institution in the world. The MSKCC is a leader in innovate methods of cancer treatment - something Christi desperately needed. In late December of 2002, the Thomas Team relocated to the Ronald McDonald House of NYC hoping by the grace of God to save their cherished daughter's life.  They lived there for nearly nine months and met the sweetest of folks.  Strangers turned friends.  The people will forever be etched in Shayne and Angela’s minds for their kindness and help during the most trying of times.

Christi's treatment in NYC included three high dose rounds of chemotherapy from January through March. Unfortunately, the cancer in Christi's bone marrow still did not respond. The oncologists again lowered her odds of survival and declared her disease "refractory" meaning no longer responding to chemotherapy agents. Surgery was cancelled and things appeared dismal at best.In April of 2003, with virtually no chance of survival, Christi was enrolled in an experimental Phase One clinical trial. During this terribly (daily) painful treatment process Christi was injected with two agents - 3F8 mouse antibodies and beta glucan. After the maximum treatment allowed (four rounds over four months) her bone marrow disease was reduced roughly 25%, but not eliminated. Her bone marrow aspirations and biopsies all still tested positive for neuroblastoma meaning the cancer continued to circulate throughout her tiny body and sadly her tumor had grown. 

View pictures from Christi's trip!In July of 2003, after finishing the Phase One Trial and all of its required testing, Christi and her family went on her Make-a-Wish Foundation trip to Japan. Christi thoroughly enjoyed visiting Tokyo and Sapporo and having three of the former college and teacher exchange students who lived with the Thomas' serve as her personal escorts, playmates and tour guides. Christi loved Tokyo Disneyland, Sanrio Puroland, Disney Sea, bathing in the Japanese hot springs, Udo Land Amusement park, eating with chopsticks and attempting to speak Japanese for a very memorable eight days.

Within twenty-four hours of arriving back in NYC from her unbelievable Make-a-Wish dream trip, she was wheeled into the operating room with the attempt to fully resect her tumor, as well as the surround lymph nodes that it had spread to with the brilliant surgeon - Dr. LaQuaglia and our loving God in heaven fully in charge. The date was July 24th - Christi's deceased Grandpa Vince's birthday. Dr. Lauaglia reported that it was a full resection and that the tumor was active neuroblastoma. He also inserted a mediport to allow her next treatment to continue.

Next, the decision was made to try a chemo she had not yet tried called Irinotecan. (a phase II study). That low dose chemo attempt was administered for two straight weeks. Because Irinotecan typically does not lower the blood counts very much, its side effects are manageable, and Christi wanted nothing more than to be home with her new kitten and to go to school after her first round of Irinotecan in NYC, the Thomas Team moved back to Ohio in late August of 2003. Christi was able to attend school (for the very first time) where she thrived in second grade and she also went back to ballet classes after missing an entire year of dance classes too. She received her chemo after school through October of 2003 and as always never complained about the treatments or the side-effects.

Committed to “not going down without an all out fight” and never wanting to look back at not trying something, on November 2nd, 2003 Shayne and Angela enrolled and started their beloved little gal in a very risky Phase I trial at CHOP - being the third child in the USA to ever attempt this dosage. She was injected with the high dose MIBG radioactive isotope which actually made her radioactive and therefore kept her in isolation. Everything that she touched was disposed of as radioactive waste. Two weeks later, this high dose MIBG (internal radiation) experiment was repeated for a second time. Always one to look on the bright side, she tolerated the week's isolation very well.  The Thomas team remained living at the world’s very first Ronald McDonald House (P.R.M.H.) while Christi received her daily care at CHOP for roughly three months in the fall of 2003.  With dangerously low blood counts, on January 2nd of 2004 her previously harvested stem cells were transplanted back into her - literally restarting her young life. Sadly, following the scans and tests, it was learned that the high dose MIBG (radiation) did nothing to reduce her tumor burden.

Now facing very low blood counts, Christi no longer qualified for any treatment options - except for 13-cis-retinoic acid. This theory behind this drug is that it matures neuroblastoma cells. On January 27th, 2004 Christi started this treatment at home where she completed three cycles before returning to CHOP for disease evaluation. It was crushing news to learn that the tests/scans conducted in April of 2004 indicated that the amount of disease in her bone marrow increased and her cancer had progressed while on 13-cis-retinoic acid.

On April 22nd, 2004 Christi started yet another Phase I experimental trial (ABT - 751). In test tubes and in animals, ABT - 751 kills cancer cells. ABT - 751 works by binding to a critical protein in cells (tubulin). In studies, ABT is able to kill cancer cells that are resistant to chemotherapy (exactly Christi’s situation). After one cycle, Christi returned to Philadelphia on May 13th of 2004 (the day after her 7th birthday) for testing. Her oncologist labeled her response as "stable disease with a hint of improvement". After waiting for Christi's blood counts to recover, Christi started her second cycle of ABT (21 days of oral chemo pills with a seven day break before repeating the cycle) on June 3rd, 2004 .  While on this amazing drug for over 15 months she enjoyed a tremendous quality of life by going to school full time and taking ballet, piano and karate lessons.  She also participated in Girl Scouts and religion classes. 

MIBG and MRI scans were conducted in early July of 2005 - after her 15th round of ABT, which sadly indicated that a new spot of cancer was indeed growing in her rib.  Not wanting to “abandon ship” from the drug which had improved/stabilized the cancer in her bone marrow for so long, it was decided to “crank up the dosage” to see if that would have any impact on her new area of cancer.  She returned to CHOP in mid-August 2005 where sadly tests/scans concluded that in just four weeks her disease rapidly progressed with the cancer being spread throughout her entire skeletal system.  She immediately began yet another Phase I clinical trial - the Irino/Temador/Cebrex combination of oral chemotherapy agents.  

While difficult to swallow and keep down - and not without much nausea, Christi successfully completed two rounds of the yucky tasting chemos and then returned to Philadelphia in late September ‘05.  Tests/scans at CHOP indicated that the disease which had spread significantly from her skull to her knees was reduced again to the new area discovered July 05 - a rib (and her bone marrow, of course).  While not a cure by any means, the Thomas team is grateful for a response.  Therefore, she completed four more rounds.  She also had two weeks of external radiation to the new tumor in December of 2005.  Sadly, test results in Philadelphia confirmed that the irinotecan and temador chemos were no longer keeping Christi’s cancer stable.  Again, the disease had spread to her:  skull, arms, ribs, pelvis, and legs.

With perfect timing, due to Christi’s progressing disease, the clinical trial the Thomas’s had been waiting over two years for finally opened (Phase II hu.14.18 interleukin-2 Fusion Protein trial) and Christi begin this study on Jan. 9, 2006 at CHOP. The side effects were nasty (high fever, chills, and pain) yet as all later learned Christi’s cancer was rapidly progressing and perhaps that was causing the horrible pain.

Because the pain never really stopped and because a week later “lumps” were popping out Christi’s skull, she flew back to Philadelphia is terrible condition with Dr. Maris gravely worried.

She immediately started the European protocol of high dose chemo (Topotecan, Vincristine, Doxorubicin) on January 31, 2006 which made her terribly sick, so sick that her blood counts didn’t recover to endure a second round. Instead topotecan and vincristine were reduced to 50% of the dosage and she endured that for her second round.

Tests and scans conducted on March 15, 2006 showed that her cancer had been reduced by 90% - definitely worth the hair loss, mouth sores, blood transfusions and other side effects! On March 21, 2006 she will again repeat the TVD combo of very harsh chemos. This will be conducted while in the hospital at CHOP.

The Thomas Team would like to thank all of "Christi's Crew" for their love and support during the most challenging times and also to say thanks for continuing to serve as Christi's tremendous prayer warriors. The Thomas Team believes, "God performs miracles EVERY day. We pray that Christi will be one of them and will be a testament to His work." Thank you for your continued support as Christi continues to fight for her life in this bloody war called cancer.

Address for Cards:
"The Thomas Team"
P.O. Box 152
Old Fort, OH 44861

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Christi and her faithful webmaster Eric take on Lake Erie, August 2005.