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Journey Cummins

Kosciusko , MS | Wilm's Tumor

After her 8-month-old daughter’s cancer diagnosis, Tara and Ryan Cummins struggled to find the good in a frightening situation.

Today, now that Journey is a happy 4-year-old who loves taking dance and gymnastics lessons, it’s easier than about three and a half years ago.


Back then, the couple knew something was wrong with Journey’s health. Journey’s local physician saw the abnormal swelling in her stomach and referred her immediately to Children’s of Mississippi and the state’s only children’s hospital. There she was diagnosed with a stage III Wilms’ tumor.


Later that week, surgeons removed a 2½-pound tumor along her right kidney. She would soon begin extensive eight-month treatment plan, including radiation and chemotherapy.

After her first round of treatments, a second tumor started to grow, this time around her heart. Children’s of Mississippi oncologists acted quickly, and surgeons removed part of the tumor. A more extensive chemotherapy regimen followed, and her doctors at the Children’s of Mississippi Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders collaborated with a team at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, where the rest of the tumor was removed.


Since then, Journey’s journey has taken her back to Children’s of Mississippi for check-ups. Though she will continue to be monitored for years, her MRI and PET scans show no evidence of disease.

“God will always find a way to bring the good out of something bad,” Tara said. “We met people we never would have, and the people at Children’s of Mississippi have been wonderful to us. They feel like family!”


Tara, Ryan, Journey and little sister Ryann work together to help Children’s of Mississippi through holiday donations and by increasing public awareness of childhood cancer. Tara has also written a book, “How to Survive Your Child’s Cancer: A Journey,” which was launched Sept. 8.


“Journey continues to be our hero,” Ryan said. “We cannot wait to see what is in store for her

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