Jessika was diagnosed with T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL), a rare form of leukemia, in December of 2017.
Like most children battling cancer, Jessika and her family have faced many challenges along the way. Immediately following her diagnosis, Jessika spent 20 days in the hospital for treatment. Many complications followed, including a blood clot in her heart, diabetes, a bone disease, and anaphylactic reactions to two of her chemo treatments. Another unexpected challenge for the family was the rarity of T-ALL. Even in a clinic full of other pediatric cancer patients, it was hard for Jessika to find someone else that could relate to her specific experience.
The family also faced hardships outside of the hospital. “When you have a child undergoing treatment for cancer, one parent devotes all their time to that child,” said parents Terrie and Chris. With two other children in the house, the family had to learn how to ease the stress and tension by communicating frequently. “We have learned to live more intentionally and embrace as many moments as possible,” they shared.
Today, Jessika and her family are looking on the bright side. Thirteen months have passed since her cancer was declared in remission, and she has about a year and a half left of chemo treatments. “We are on a constant path of positivity and strong faith to beat this leukemia,” said her parents. Jessika even met her first friend with T-ALL back in November of 2018, and they have kept in touch since.
Jessika’s family has worked hard to keep her life as normal as possible. An avid cheerleader, Jessika worried she would not be able to continue participating in the sport because of her chemo port and bone disease. Luckily, she has a great support system that is working to adapt practices for her safety and comfort. “Jessie has amazing people and mentors in her life who have been so very understanding and amazing for her spirit!” said Terrie.
Every child who has been diagnosed with childhood cancer inspires us to Rally On to find better treatments with fewer long-term side effects and, ultimately, cures. Please join us in the fight against childhood cancer by making a donation or setting up your own Rally fundraiser today.