I hope this message finds all of you blessed and in good standing. As you all know, Keely was diagnosed with high risk type b A.L.L. (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia) on March 29, 2009. Since that day, she has had surgery to implant a port-a-cath in her chest for permanent IV use, been hospitalized on three separate occasions for a total of 14 days, had 8 ER visits at two different hospitals, 27 clinic visits, 83 individual chemotherapy treatments using 10 different chemotherapy medicines, taken hundreds of doses of 12 different prescription drugs at home, 5 blood transfusions and 3 platelet transfusions, had her port accessed 32 times, 12 shots, 4 IV’s, been put to sleep 10 times, had 10 spinal taps, and 8 bone marrow aspirations, 4 CT scans, 3 x-rays, 3 Electrocardiograms, 2 Echocardiograms, had to pee in a cup 15 times, had her blood pressure and temperature taken over 100 times, lost 10% of her body weight and all of her hair!! Over the course of the next 8 weeks she is scheduled for 8 clinic visits, 6 different chemo drugs, 20 individual chemotherapy treatments, 3 different times being put to sleep, 3 spinal taps and bone marrow aspirations and 14 days of steroid treatments. I know most of you read that and are in shock. We did not tell you that for you to feel sorry for her, but to be in total amazement at the work God is doing in this child’s life. When you see her and hang out with her for even a minute, if you missed her beautiful bald head you would never even know that anything was wrong with her. She is so vibrant, happy, energetic and full of spirit! She is absolutely by far the strongest, bravest person I know. She amazes us and causes us to fall more in love with her each day. She is a trooper, and quite frankly can take a needle in her chest better than most grown men I know! All of that this little 4 year old girl has gone through in the last 5 months, and she still has 2 years left of treatment. But she will not be beaten! She already has victory in this battle thanks to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!!
With all that is going on, this family has truly been blessed! We are surrounded by awesome family and friends, including the greatest church on the face of the earth!! God has truly blessed us and we know that He will use this that the devil intended for evil, for the good of His Kingdom. Keely will have an awesome testimony and will be an absolute warrior for God.
Keely’s treatment at UNC is top notch, and the actual treatments themselves have been much improved even over the last 5 years. Where as Keely is put to sleep now for bone marrow and spinal taps, less than 5 years ago they did not have the medicine to be able to put her to sleep. The doctors used local anesthetic and distraction techniques to perform those procedures. Just a couple of years prior to that, they could not even use local anesthetics and had to do it with no numbing or sedation… Can you even imagine doing that to a small child once a week, week after week? Like I said before, we are truly blessed and are thankful for all of the research that has made these advances possible. That being said, there is still so much more to do in terms of research and development for leukemia. They still have no idea what causes it or how to spot it early. Many doctors rarely see it and many times it goes undiagnosed for a while due to the lack of testing. Just a couple of weeks ago, we had to make one of the hardest decisions of our lives… to take Keely off of one of her chemotherapy drugs due to the side effects she was experiencing. None of the doctors and specialists could tell us at all what it would do to her prognosis to take her off of the drug. They just simply do not know…. they do not know!! The doctors and research professionals have come so far just in the last few years, but there is so much further to go.
On October 17, our family will be walking in the Light The Night Walk in Downtown Raleigh to benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). We will join thousands of other people as we illuminate the night sky with red, white and gold balloons to show the world that we are relentless in our pursuit for a cure for cancer. This nationwide evening walk celebrates and commemorates lives touched by cancer. This year, we of course will be walking in honor of Keely. We invite you to join us in the fight to cure blood cancers and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. We would love to have you join us in the walk or if you cannot make the walk, there are opportunities for donations. You may sign up or donate online on Keely’s personal webpage http://pages.lightthenight.org/nce/Raleigh09/SpunkyPunky. We have set a goal to raise $2000 in 2009. This money will go to LLS for life-saving research and vital patient services and education. No donation is too small; every dollar makes a difference! We thank you in advance for supporting us in our efforts and for supporting the patients and families served by The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Please forward this message along to anyone you think may be interested in walking with us or supporting a good cause.