“The Lord will fight for you. You need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14
Mary Elizabeth was a healthy vibrant 11 year old girl whose life suddenly changed in the blink of and eye in April of 2014. After suffering some headaches and some bruising on her shins, but being assured by the pediatrician that she looked healthy she went on spring break vacation with her parents siblings and grandparents to St. Simons Island GA. While on the trip she continued to feel tired and not well. She looked puny and didn’t feel her normal energetic self. After the trip her parents took her to the local children’s hospital Urgent Care where tests were run but the doctors didn’t think there was any reason for concern. Until the next day when they received the phone call that would change their life forever. Mary Elizabeth’s blood work had been rechecked and they now suspected she had leukemia and wanted her to be brought into the hospital immediately. There would be an oncologist waiting to see them. Everything was a blur and Mary E. was rushed to the hospital for further tests. Her parents waited to find out if she truly had leukemia, and if so what type. After a couple of days they discovered she has a type known as AML. It is more rare and acute and only 300 kids are diagnosed a year with this type in the US. Mary E was transferred to another hospital by ambulance where she could begin immediate treatments.
Her initial testing showed no leukemia in her spine or brain which is a positive thing. And Mary E. was diagnosed in fairly good health as isn’t always the case with this disease. She currently just finished her third cycle of chemo. It has been a long road. After her first cycle didn’t kill all of the cancer we learned that she would have to have a Bone Marrow Transplant. (BMT) Thankfully her brother is a perfect match for her, but we are very lucky. Our chances that we would have a sibling match were only 25%. So many children don’t have a match and need one. And it is so easy to get on the registry. You can go to www.bethematch.org and request a free kit to be sent to your home. It is a set of cheek swabs that you mail back in. If you are ever called to be a donor and save a life the procedure is simple and out patient. I hope if you are able you will consider it. Mixed races and races other than Caucasian have the most difficult time finding matches. Cord blood is an option, but the match for this is not as good and kids don’t always do as well with the cord blood match. But sometimes that is their only and best option. When you deliver a child you can ask the hospital f they offer cord blood donations. Some do and it is also a great way to give back and save a life. Mary E.’s transplant is scheduled for late August and her six year old brother is thrilled to be her match and her hero. We are thrilled also and scared at the same time. But we have faith that this will all work out and is in God’s hands.
Mary Elizabeth loved school, dancing, drama, church, choir and art. After a long, hard fight, Mary Elizabeth earned her angel wings on September 2, 2015.