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Meet NaNa

age 3, blood cancer

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Tyquencia finally got the baby girl she was praying for when NaNa came along. NaNa has four brothers, and her favorite is “Fat Fat,” who is actually quite skinny.

He was the one that she missed the most while she was being treated at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for acute myeloid leukemia, an aggressive blood cancer.

In October 2016, NaNa started refusing food and was losing a significant amount of weight. A visit to a nearby hospital showed she had leukemia at just a year old. She was quickly referred to St. Jude.


St. Jude patient NaNa with her mom, Tyquencia

One day everything was good, the next we had to go to Memphis (Tennessee, where St. Jude is located). I had to go to save my child, and sacrifice for her to make sure she was in the best situation, even though I missed my boys.

Tyquencia, NaNa's mom


NaNa underwent six rounds of chemotherapy with minimal results, and then had a lifesaving haploidentical transplant — a procedure pioneered by St. Jude — with Tyquencia as her donor.

This procedure entails a bone marrow transplant that uses donor cells from a family member who is a partial match for the patient’s immune type.


Deep down, you don’t know how many nights I cried, how many nights I prayed. Not knowing if your child’s going to make it, it’s a lot to take in. But St. Jude saved my baby.

Tyquencia, NaNa's mom


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. And St. Jude won’t stop until no child dies from cancer.

Now cancer-free, 3-year-old NaNa has a lot of energy, and Tyquencia says that through all the pain, NaNa never stopped smiling.

NaNa with shopping cart

Through all the pain and treatment for acute myeloid leukemia, St. Jude patient NaNa has yet to stop smiling.

She was reunited with Fat Fat and the rest of her brothers when she made it 100 days post-transplant, and she continues to return to St. Jude for checkups.


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