It seemed like no big deal — just a sore knee. Abby was taking gymnastics, and her knee was bothering her, so her mom, Amanda, took her to the doctor. “We had no clue,” Amanda said. Eight hours later, they were on a plane to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. At just 6 years old, Abby was the first person in her family with a cancer diagnosis.
Abby has acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), a form of blood cancer and the most common type of childhood cancer. St. Jude has increased the survival rates for ALL from 4 percent, before the hospital opened in 1962, to 94 percent today.
Still, treatment for ALL remains difficult. Abby’s treatment will include two-and-a-half years of chemotherapy, and she has struggled with side effects like painful mouth sores and neuropathy, which is nerve pain. And she misses being at home with her dogs, Caribou and Moose. But, now 7 years old, she’s starting to adapt to this overwhelming change in her life. She’s learning to cope with being a childhood cancer patient.
Thanks to the generosity of donors, her family will not have to cope with medical bills for Abby’s care. No family receives a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food — because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.