One family, two journeys
Raeleigh's mom brought her baby sister into the world the day before Raeleigh was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Now they're learning to manage both, together as a family at St. Jude.
April 16, 2018, was to be a special day for Raeleigh. She had just become a big sister and was going to the hospital to meet the baby for the very first time. But the visit had to be postponed when she developed a low fever and leg pains.
Then, bloodwork showed Raeleigh’s white blood cell count was seriously elevated. While her mother was recovering in one hospital with Raeleigh’s newborn sister, Raeleigh was admitted to another.
The next day, Raeleigh’s mom was discharged, and Raeleigh was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a type of blood cancer.
I threw everything that I could in a bag because we were being sent the next day to St. Jude.
Treatments invented at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20% to more than 80% since it opened more than 50 years ago.
Following a week in which Raeleigh was inpatient, the family of four was provided a place to live during the next phase of Raeleigh’s treatment, at no cost to them — because families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food.
“It was a lot of help to have our own space,” said her mom. Especially with the baby.
Raeleigh will receive about two-and-a-half years of chemotherapy and so far, she is handling it like a champ.
“She's basically your normal 4-year-old,” said her mom, “no side effects, no nausea, no throwing up.”
Meet more patients
She loves clothes and dressing up, and is, her parents say, “smart” and “bossy” and “very independent.”
In fact, she is so independent, she has decided all on her own that when back at home, she will live across the street at her grandmother’s house. That’s where her young aunt lives, and those two are inseparable, “like peas and carrots,” said her mom.
Help our families focus on their sick child, not medical bills.
When you donate monthly, your gift means families, like Raeleigh's, 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.