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october 17, 2015

LLS Lowdown

Meet Jack – Honor Hero for the Moms in Training Program

“The laughter never stopped in my room – life is too short to allow that to happen.”

feb. jackI was a happy, healthy little boy. I had fun playing with my family and my friends, going on walks, playing on my brand new play set and being a typical, crazy 2-year old. But, one week after my 2nd birthday, I went to see my pediatrician for a regular check-up and everything changed after my doctor noticed some very tiny bruises (the size of the head of a needle). She did a quick blood test that showed my platelets and hemoglobin were very low.  A bone marrow biopsy showed that I had acute myeloid leukemia.In June of 2012, I started my chemotherapy, which consisted of 4 rounds of inpatient chemotherapy. Due to the serious risk of infection, I lived at Children’s Mercy Hospital for each round, which lasted about 30 days. My parents dubbed CMH their “condo on the east side.”  During my treatments, my parents alternated staying with me – my Mom stayed with me during the days and worked from the hospital while taking care of me. My Dad stayed most nights. On the weekends, my parents and sister – who would later save my life – all kept me company. I was able to go home in November of 2012 and in February of 2013 I was able to start preschool and enjoy time with my friends.

In March of 2013 I learned the leukemia had returned. It was devastating and the relapse meant that I would have to undergo a bone marrow transplant. We already knew that my sister, who was 6, was a bone marrow match. She did not hesitate for a second to say yes to donating her bone marrow. My parents told her it was her decision and asked if she wanted to donate her bone marrow. She was so hilarious when she answered – she put her finger to her chin and looked up in the sky and then said “Umm… yes!!” We all laughed. I went through several rounds of chemo before the transplant, which took place in July of 2013.

After the transplant, I spent another 18 days or so at the condo before I could go home. But, on August 16, 2013 I finally went home. I had daily clinic visits – even on the weekends – for the first couple weeks and then moved to weekly, then bi-weekly visits. Now I go every 3 weeks for a visit. My doctor says it’s because I am high-risk. I think it’s because I am at a high-risk of being awesome!!

My one-year “birthday” was on July 29, 2014 and if it weren’t for my brave and awesome sister, I probably would not have seen this day. And, if it weren’t for all of the research that has been made possible by donations of time and money like yours, I certainly wouldn’t be here. It was not that long ago that children diagnosed with leukemia did not survive. Now, that is far from the case – I was told that I had a 50% chance of survival. Look at me now – running, playing, getting into trouble, giving my parents gray hair and torturing the very sister who saved my life. I couldn’t have done all of that without the treatments and therapies that have been developed throughout the years.

For more information on LLS’s Team in Training, please contact Stacy Duncan at or Janeane Werner at or call us at 913-262-1515.

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