Healthcast: Childhood leukemia

Childhood leukemia. They are two words that parents dread. 

A mother from Illinois found out that her daughter is the youngest ever to be diagnosed with the disease. 

“We had her three months early, so she was diagnosed six weeks before she was supposed to be born,” said Felicia Skelton, the baby’s mother. 

The baby girl weighed just under two pounds at birth. To her parents, that became the least of their worries. 

“We found out that she had a brain bleed, her white blood cells were shooting up way higher that what normal is,” Skelton said. 

The doctors could not determine the cause of her high blood cell count, so her parents took her to the St. Louis Children’s Hospital for a second opinion. 

After two weeks, the doctors came to a conclusion, and told her parents the one word they never wanted to hear. Cancer.

Before she could even walk, the baby girl was part of an exclusive club of cancer patients. 

“She weighed three pounds at the time, so that made her the youngest and the smallest to ever have been diagnosed with this type of cancer,” Skelton said.
“It accounts for only one percent of all childhood cancer patients.”

A string of chemo appointments began, along with exploratory surgery around her stomach that removed her spleen.

Doctors told the family that their baby would need a bone marrow transplant in order to live, but she was still grossly underweight for the procedure. 

It wasn’t until October that they found a suitable donor online. 

Her mother said after the procedure their family will begin a whole new journey.

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