Wake Forest, NC
In April 2018, our lives were forever changed when we found out that our sweet Jaleah, full of life and personality, had cancer. Sometimes life is unfair — to sit there helpless and scared and then hear the doctor say, “Your child has cancer,” was pure devastation and the worst day of our lives! These words should never be heard by any parents.
We got transferred the next day to Duke Children’s Hospital, and I was still in disbelief. How could my sweet snuggly baby, who has a history of good health, loves to eat, and bury her head into my shoulder, have cancer?
On April 27, 2018, Jaleah was officially diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic lymphoma (ALL). My little ray of sunshine started chemotherapy three days later on April 30, 2018. We got through it but by taking it one treatment cycle, one challenge, one day at a time, and staying positive. Watching your child going through painful injections, spinal taps, endless drugs, CT scans, radiation, etc., is never easy, but Jaleah took it all in stride. We figured that if she was strong enough to go through it and still have a smile on her little face, then we had no excuse but to follow her lead.
Jaleah brightens the mood of anyone she meets. For being so young and completely clueless about what’s going on, she has shown me and my family new meanings to all things courageous. It’s unfair that anyone must face cancer, especially a child.
We have a very long road ahead of us, but she’s our hero. There is no one and there will never be anyone else in the world quite like Jaleah! She needs our support, and we know that God and the doctors (at Duke Children's Hospital) are going to pull her through.
Jaleah finished her treatment at the beginning of September 2020, and a day later I got the phone call to say she had the all-clear. The day we had been waiting for had finally arrived. I came off the phone and was crying for ages. It made me realize just how scared I had been. This year has been fantastic without having lots of trips to the hospital.
What makes this cancer experience more difficult is that Jaleah has three sisters. It was and still is something that impacts all our joined and separate lives, and there is no getting away from that. Our family and friends have been a great support. Even though Jaleah’s cancer diagnosis hit us hard, we tried to keep consistent schedules so the kids would feel safe in their daily routines. We have to reassure them that they are equally loved.
Jaleah will continue appointments and lab work visits for a while but is still in remission. Special thanks to our wonderful doctors and nurses who shed a little sunshine during this crazy hard journey. Thank you to “The Child of Life Team” at Duke Children’s Hospital for all the fabulous activities you had over the festive period and for working incredibly hard to make these past few years go smoothly. Thanks for fighting this fight with us!