Taunton Elks Lodge the host of marrow drive to save a 5-year-old girl – Taunton, MA – The Taunton Gazette
Posted Mar 11 2011 12:00am
For three hours on Thursday, the main room of the Elks Lodge 150 on High Street was the scene of an effort to help save the life of a 5-year-old girl.
Unless she receives a successful bone marrow transplant, doctors say Katelyn Bailey won’t survive.
Katelyn, who had been living at home in Middletown, R.I. with her parents Michelle and Larry, and her now 9-month-old sister Meghan, has recently undergone chemotherapy at Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence.
Her parents have taken temporary, partial leaves from their jobs to be by her bedside, and relatives are helping out by taking turns baby-sitting baby Meghan, said Taunton Police Patrolman Ernie Chretien.
Chretien, a first cousin of Meghan’s mom Michelle, organized and arranged the “Be The Match Registry” drive, in conjunction with Rhode Island Blood Center, to be held at the Elks Lodge.
To say Katelyn is facing an uphill battle is putting it lightly, Chretien said.
When she was 9 months old, she was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer known as AT/RT, or atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumor. She responded to chemo and radiation, and the cancer went into remission, he said.
But she also suffered side effects as a result. Chretien said her speech development was delayed and she relied on a feeding tube; it wasn’t until she was 4, he said, that she began eating solid food.
Chretien said the last time he saw Katelyn was Christmas week when he visited at her home.
“She seemed healthy and cheerful,” he said.
But by early February she was exhibiting flu-like symptoms and was taken to Hasbro, where she was diagnosed with an advanced form of leukemia…