Faith like a child: Allora’s story of childhood cancer

Guest post by Chandler Jo Santiago

Allora Haven Santiago

It’s Friday, so we are dreaming of the beach while she gets a chemo infusion.

Allora reminds me regularly that she does not have cancer any longer.

“I have chemo, Mama, not cancer.”

When I look at her journey from that perspective, my heart wells up with gratitude. Gratitude keeps me from being offended, and I can assure you that weekly trips to the hospital give plenty of opportunity for offense.

But she says to me again and again, “I just have chemo.”

It’s true, she has no sign or symptoms of cancer (the tumor in her chest was gone in five days, she had clear scans at day twenty eight) only symptoms of chemo. Even the side and late effects of chemo, though heart breaking for anyone who loves her, are minimal thanks to Jesus’ hand and some practical ways we are mitigating them.

Chemotherapy is rarely optional, editable, or shortened for this childhood cancer in the USA, adults have options. We continue to choose to be extremely grateful that we are just managing symptoms of chemo, not of cancer.

Every single night she asks me to sing this song with her before a hug, kiss, and ugga-mugga goodnight:

“You came, I knew that You would come.
You sang, my heart it woke up.
I’m not afraid, I see Your face, I am alive.
You came, I knew that You would come.
You are a miracle working God.
You are a miracle working God.
You are a miracle working God!”
by Jonathan David and Melissa Helser

I do my best to keep it together until I’m out of the room.

Honestly, some nights those words cause tears to stream down my face as we sing them together and she wipes them with a knowing look as though she understands why I cry. . .maybe she does?

After we sing she often asks me about Lazarus.

“Him was dead?”


“But Jesus came?”

We talk about how Jesus wept then raised his friend up from the grip of death.

Then she usually whispers, “He came for me too.”

I can’t even breathe a reply.

He came for me, for you, for all of us.

His children are blessed beyond any human condition by a God who wept and weeps when we experience the pain of death, sickness, or sin.

The Man who bore our sorrows, sickness, and more.


Chandler Jo Santiago

Chandler Santiago is a current stay at home missionary mother of three, raising her littles with her favorite man in the heart of the states. She and her family call Kansas City home. They spend their days together crafting a wellness lifestyle, making beautiful things, writing songs, and spending time in nature.


A note from Chandler & Adriel:

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Less than 4% of federal funding goes toward pediatric cancer research. That includes developing less toxic ways to treat our littlest loves. There are SO few pediatric cancer medicines developed specifically for kiddos.

The next generation deserves more! We need an outcry, though it’s not your child, it’s not just genetics that are at play here and any moment you might find yourself walking with someone affected by childhood cancer. We need to do better for our children.

Please consider a few action steps:

  • Pray for Allora and her family—victory over cancer, peace, financial provision (treatment costs $20K/month), and every other form of support they need as Allora undergoes treatment.
  • Connect with Allora’s mom, Chandler, and follow their family’s journey on insta: @itschandlerjo.
  • Follow The Laurel Crown League and join relief efforts for the Santiago family and others.

Orgs we love that make a difference:

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About Author

Adriel Booker is an author, speaker, and advocate based in Sydney, Australia who believes storytelling, beauty, and the grace of God will change the world. Adriel has become a trusted voice in areas of motherhood and parenting, Christian spirituality, and global women's issues. She's also known for her work with the Love A Mama Collective—serving under-resourced women in developing nations through safe birth initiatives—as well as her years spent as a Bible teacher and leadership coach. Her latest book is Grace Like Scarlett: Grieving with Hope after Miscarriage and Loss and she's made the companion grief journal available for free. Find Adriel across all social media platforms at @adrielbooker or sign up for LoveNotes, Adriel's 'secret posts' that aren't published anywhere else online. ✌️


  • Chandler
    1 October 2017 at 12:32 pm

    Thank you for sharing Adriel! It means a lot.

  • Nakisha William
    7 October 2017 at 3:55 am

    I pray to god for Allora so that she becomes to get rid of the Cancer. I know that how it is difficult for a mother whose child face this unbeatable disease. I only pray to overcome this bad situation and no mother’s children don’t face this disease.

  • Sommer Ryan
    30 July 2020 at 11:40 pm

    Lots of love and prayers for all the children who are fighting against this monster disease.
    I really liked the content and idea of this post.


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