Meet St. Jude patients JaLise and Evan

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JaLise
6 years old
Texas
medulloblastoma

In May 2010, JaLise started to throw up after eating. Her doctor thought it might be due to acid reflux and prescribed medication. But within a month, JaLise had lost 10 pounds. When she fainted one afternoon, her mother, LaShandra, knew instinctively that something more serious was wrong.

LaShandra took JaLise to the emergency room, where tests revealed a brain tumor. JaLise underwent surgery and the tumor was resected. A biopsy identified the tumor as a medulloblastoma. LaShandra turned to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for JaLise’s treatment and care.

At St. Jude, JaLise’s treatment included six weeks of radiation and four rounds of chemotherapy. “From the moment we walked through the door, I was amazed,” said LaShandra. “JaLise’s doctors and nurses were so caring.” She was also grateful that she never received a bill from St. Jude. “When you find out that treatment not covered by insurance is taken care of, it’s a weight off of you,” LaShandra said. “You don’t have to worry about how you’ll pay this or pay that. It’s a blessing. You can focus on your child.”

JaLise is finished with treatment and now visits St. Jude for regular checkups. She’s in kindergarten and loves doing arts and crafts.

Evan
13 years old
Tennessee
anaplastic large cell sarcoma

 

Evan was an active boy who enjoyed baseball, basketball and snowboarding. Then one day in January 2011, Evan got sick. At first, Evan had excruciating pains in his abdomen, and then the pain spread to his hip. His right eye began to swell and then his jaw. He also had a lump on the back of his head.

A biopsy of Evan’s jaw soon revealed the devastating news that Evan suffered from anaplastic large cell sarcoma, a rare form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. His mother, Theresa, was scared, but she remembered a friend from high school whose life had been saved by St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and she asked Evan’s doctor for a referral.

Most children who come to St. Jude are entered onto a treatment plan called a protocol that is already tried and tested. But Evan’s condition was so rare that no protocol existed, neither at St. Jude or nationally. Evan’s St. Jude doctor assembled a team of specialists from throughout the hospital and created a tailored chemotherapy treatment plan just for Evan.

Evan is now finished with treatment, and he returns to St. Jude for regular checkups. He hopes to one day soon get back to all the activities he enjoys. When he grows up, Evan wants to be a Lego designer or an architect.