Like most little girls her age, six-year-old Sydney Newton loves playing with baby dolls and her dog, Alice. However, unlike most other little girls, Sydney was diagnosed last year with an inoperable rhabdomyosarcoma behind her left eye. After receiving the diagnosis, Sydney’s devoted paren ts, Cynthia and Jamie, immediately jumped into action, entrusting Sydney to the care of the Children’s Hospital of Alabama for radiation and chemotherapy treatments.
While fighting her cancer, which primarily affects children, Sydney has demonstrated that she is a very brave little girl. She enjoys showing off her Beads of Courage, colorful beads representing strength and courage for undergoing cancer treatments. “They’re like medals of honor,” explained Cynthia.
Sydney’s biggest challenge in her fight against cancer has been spending time in the hospital, away from her friends, family, and older brother, Dawson. Yet, her experience has made Sydney even more empathetic toward others, especially children. “She definitely thinks about others’ feelings more now,” said Cynthia.
Sydney’s garden gives one a glimpse into her sweet and playful heart. She chose to decorate her garden with bright pink and red flowers to represent the love she feels, as well as lantana and salvia to attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Sydney, who enjoys helping her mother take care of the family’s flower garden at home, also selected an ornament of a “lucky ladybug” to adorn her vivid garden – a symbol that has carried Sydney through her journey with cancer.
The Newtons, who have relied on their faith in God, as well as their tight-knit family to help them through Sydney’s cancer treatment, believe the diagnosis is one of the best things that has ever happened to their family. “We only thought we knew what was important before,” explained Cynthia. “We just hope people are able to see our faith, our love for one another, and our desire to do more for others just as others have done for us.”