Bailee was born with Down syndrome as well as a congenital heart defect. At five months of age she had open-heart surgery to correct the heart defect. We were aware that children with DS are at a slightly higher risk for leukemia but never thought it would happen. Last fall, our family was busy with work, daycare, and daily life when, on October 6, 2015, three weeks before her third birthday, Bailee was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. In the weeks leading up to her diagnosis, she experienced severe bruising, unexplained illness, nose bleeds, and petechia (spots caused by bleeding into the skin). The past year has been tough on Bailee, as well as our family. It’s been hard to see her sick from the disease and treatments. We spent her birthday and her sister’s birthday in the hospital. In some ways it feels like our lives stopped and the rest of the world went on without us. Fortunately, we were able to be together, as a family. Bailee is approaching one year in treatment and doing well. She will start preschool in a few weeks, and she’s happy to be able to do the things she loves again. Bailee enjoys going to the park, painting, playing with her little sister JoJo and her doggie Lucy. Our family is hopeful that the hardest part of our battle is over, but we realize we still have a long way to go.
Last September our family knew very little about childhood cancer. Today, we want to do what we can to spread awareness and make a difference.