Catch up with patient Kaelyn

You might remember patient Kaelyn from her appearance on the TODAY show in 2010 during Thanks and Giving. Find out how her life has changed since then. 

 
 

For several weeks in late 2009, Kaelyn was in and out of the doctor’s office. Her pediatrician, believing she had a virus, prescribed antibiotics, but after two rounds, Kaelyn was still unwell. Then her parents, Krystal and Cal, noticed she had developed new, alarming symptoms. The veins on her face had come to the surface, and a knot appeared on her neck. Blood work soon revealed Kaelyn suffered from acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a type of blood cancer. “We were in shock,” Cal said. “It was one of the hardest things I’ve had to hear.”

At St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Kaelyn underwent two-and-a-half years of chemotherapy. She responded well to treatment, and her cancer went into remission.

St. Jude patient Kaelyn and her family

St. Jude patient Kaelyn (second from left) with (from left) her father, Cal, sister, Emily, mother, Krystal, and brother, Philip, in 2017

St. Jude has helped push the overall survival rate for childhood cancer from less than 20% when we first opened our doors to 80% today. We won’t stop until no child dies from cancer. 

 

St. Jude is a place where hope abounds. We’re thankful to be part of that family.

Kaelyn's dad, Cal

St. Jude patient Kaelyn

St. Jude patient Kaelyn in 2010

St. Jude patient Kaelyn

Kaelyn in 2016

Now out of treatment, Kaelyn visits St. Jude for regular checkups. She has had some lingering physical pain in her legs and feet from treatment, but Kaelyn doesn’t let anything slow her down. She’s a straight A student who counts math and writing among her favorite classes. She takes piano lessons and is also active in her church’s youth group.

St. Jude means so much to our family,” said Cal. “If it hadn’t been for the dedication of so many, we wouldn’t have Kaelyn. St. Jude is a place where hope abounds. We’re thankful to be part of that family.”

Kaelyn loves taking care of and encouraging younger kids, and recently told her parents that when she grows up, she wants to be a Child Life Specialist

 

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