Samantha

 

In June 2005, Samantha was a happy, bubbly two year old, busy learning basic toddler skills and enjoying her new little sister. Her favorite things to do were playing at the playground, helping with chores and projects, and going for walks around the neighborhood. She began having a low grade fever, leg pain, body bruising, among other symptoms, and was taken to the doctor. Initially, she saw an on- call Doctor, as it was a holiday, and he dismissed her with a virus and said the leg pain was probably nothing. A couple of weeks later, Samantha was passing out when she cried, was very pale, and was refusing to walk. Her pediatrician ordered some initial blood work, then Samantha was sent to the hospital for more testing. The local hospital felt her symptoms were most likely due to a virus, not leukemia, but wanted doctors at John's Hopkins to follow up with her. She was transported to John's Hopkins, where she was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia, (ALL)*, on July 5th 2005. For the next 26 months, she underwent chemotherapy, had frequent hospital visits and in-patient stays. In Sept. of 2007, at age 4, she finished treatment, and was officially in remission. She continues to visit the hospital for regular monitoring during the remission period. Samantha began kindergarten in 2008, loves school, and is thriving there. She especially enjoys her friends, math class, and gym. Since having her port removed, she has been able to learn how to ice skate, and plays hockey with her Dad. Samantha continues to astound her family with how brave, caring, and beautiful she is each day.

* Acute Lymphoblastic or Lymphocytic Leukemia, (ALL), is a fast growing cancer of the white blood cells. Lymphocytes are a type of white blood cell that the body uses to fight infections. The blasts do not develop properly. These cancerous lymphocytic cells are abnormal, and cannot fight infections and crowd out the production of healthy white blood cells.