Meet the Patients


St. Jude patient Kenadie

In early 2023, Kenadie began telling her mother that she felt pain in her legs. At first, doctors said that it was likely growing pains. Her mother, Felicia, felt it was something more.

Soon after, Kenadie was unable to walk. Felicia took her daughter to an emergency room in Tennessee. Doctors diagnosed Kenadie with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), a cancer that affects the white blood cells. These cells fight infection and help protect the body against disease.

Kenadie was referred to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital®. Felicia said she had seen the St. Jude commercials on television and felt reassured after speaking to doctors about the treatment plan. Kenadie is currently receiving treatment, which includes chemotherapy.

“It kind of eased my worries. They were really reassuring,” she said. “They let me know she was in the best of care and the best of hands.” Felicia said her daughter’s leg pain is gone, and she is walking again. Kenadie wants to be a doctor when she grows up, a career choice, her mom said, that came after she started treatment at St. Jude.

St. Jude patient Kenadie.
St. Jude patient Alfonso.

St. Jude patient Alfonso

Alfonso was 5 years old when he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), a cancer that affects white blood cells. He received chemotherapy in Mexico for 18 months. Alfonso then underwent a bone marrow transplant. His father was his donor.

He was free of cancer for 15 months, and then it returned. Doctors in Mexico told his parents they had no more treatment to offer. He was referred to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital®, which his mother, Monica, called a miracle. “Our hope was restored totally,” she said.

Alfonso arrived at St. Jude in August 2022. He was treated with chemotherapy and later with CAR T-cell therapy, a type of immunotherapy that uses the body’s immune system to kill cancer cells. “For us, CAR T-cell therapy was something we read about on the internet and was out of our reach,” said Monica about when she first heard of the therapy in Mexico.

Alfonso responded well to the treatment and went into remission. He underwent another bone marrow transplant, this time with his mom as his donor. He is recuperating in Memphis, where he spends time at Family Commons, a space at St. Jude that offers patients a place to rest, exercise their minds and fuel their imaginations in between clinic appointments.


St. Jude patient Hazel

In November 2022, over the course of 36 hours, Hazel went from walking normally to being unable to balance while sitting. A CT scan showed she had a brain tumor. It was diagnosed as medulloblastoma, a type of cancer.

Following surgery, Hazel’s family obtained a referral to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital®, where Hazel has received chemotherapy and proton therapy with the goal of eradicating the cancer and preventing a future recurrence.

“This is our new normal,” said Hazel’s mom. “There are still moments where I struggle with it. But I know that she’s making progress, and she’s in good hands. And I couldn’t be more grateful.”

Hazel’s celebrated her 3rd birthday with an outdoor, unicorn-themed party while undergoing cancer treatment and living in St. Jude housing.

“When you’re facing potentially something so terrible, you really come to appreciate the small things,” said her dad. “Having that celebration meant so much more because her diagnosis, her treatment and everything else put life in perspective, in terms of living in the moment as much as you can.”

St. Jude patient Hazel.
St. Jude patient Beckett.

St. Jude patient Beckett

Even at 2 years old, Beckett was a very verbal child, able to describe how he felt. And how he felt was dizzy. He was also sick to his stomach from time to time, and had developed a head tilt.

Beckett was ultimately diagnosed with ATRT, an aggressive form of brain cancer. From that moment on, said his dad, it was “game face.” Brett and Tammy’s youngest child would need all their focus and positive energy for the long treatment ahead.

Since arriving at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® with a referral, Beckett has undergone surgery that succeeded in removing the entire tumor from his brain, proton therapy and chemotherapy. His parents no longer take anything for granted, not even the little things. And they have gratitude for St. Jude. “They’re changing people’s lives here,” said Brett.

Beckett is smart and happy-go-lucky. He enjoys construction vehicles and schoolwork, like reading and addition, but his very favorite things are Monster Jam® and playing with his monster trucks.


St. Jude patient Alanna

A trip to the emergency room in her home state of Tennessee, and later a biopsy, led doctors to diagnose Alanna with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), the most common type of childhood cancer. She was referred to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® where she began treatment in February 2023.

“It was all new to us, and we had to withdraw her from school immediately and she could not be around people,” recalled her paternal grandmother, Corlista. “We went into planning mode and created a village for her and her siblings.”

Alanna, who has two brothers and recently started kindergarten from home, is receiving chemotherapy. Corlista describes Alanna as sweet and the peacemaker of the family, who is very aware of people’s emotions.

“If someone is upset or having a bad day, she always gives them a hug and a big kiss,’’ she said. Corlista said she is grateful for St. Jude and the extra care and attention they give her granddaughter. 

St. Jude patient Alanna.
The Chicago skyline, painted rainbow.