7 years old, blood cancer

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For several months in late 2015, Marleigh experienced headaches that got increasingly worse. Her mom, Tanekka, was worried, but repeated trips to the doctor and the emergency room revealed nothing. Then, in early December, Marleigh was found to suffer from acute lymphoblastic leukemia, the most common form of childhood cancer. Tanekka was devastated. In 2005, she had battled cervical cancer, followed by a breast cancer diagnosis in 2013. She knew firsthand what her daughter was facing.

At St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Marleigh started chemotherapy immediately and her cancer is now in remission. Her treatment will last two-and-a-half years. Treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20% to more than 80% since it opened more than 50 years ago.

St. Jude patient Marleigh
Patient Marleigh

Marleigh is in first grade and is an avid reader. She also loves animals and likes to take care of her family’s ducks, chickens, goats and donkey.

Soon after arriving at St. Jude, Tanekka knew she was at the best place possible for her daughter’s treatment and care. “St. Jude is the best hospital in the world,” said Tanekka. “We love our team of doctors. We can never repay them for what they’re doing for our daughter.” Marleigh’s favorite thing about St. Jude is her Child Life specialist, who has helped her understand what she’s going through.

Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing, or food — because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.

Marleigh understands the need to help other children through her diagnosis. Her strength is abundant. This is only part of her journey.

Tanekka, Marleigh's mom


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