Maryelle’s mom can’t talk about her baby girl without a giant smile spreading across her face. She describes this fiery child as “the life of the party.”
She beams as she tells you about Maryelle coming out of her shell and rapidly becoming all personality.
But there was a moment when time stood still for Maryelle.
Maryelle has a life-threatening immunodeficiency called hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) and is a patient of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Families, like Maryelle's, will never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food.
When she was just five months old, Maryelle spiked a relentless fever. Her pediatrician noted her tugging at her ear and started her on a round of antibiotics for what seemed like a simple ear infection.
When her symptoms worsened, her parents’ intuition took over and they rushed her back to her doctor for bloodwork. What was revealed was worse than they feared. All her counts were dangerously low and within days they had a diagnosis of a severe immunodeficiency.
Thankfully, Maryelle and her family were referred to St. Jude, where doctors placed her on a treatment plan that included chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant with her mom serving as her donor.
Maryelle also underwent physical, occupational and speech therapies to help get her back on track for meeting her milestones.
You hear families never have to pay a bill, but until we got here and saw it ... I would tell my family and friends all the time, ‘It’s amazing that you don't have to worry about your meals, your treatment, your lodging.' It’s amazing.
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