Chloe, T-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Survivor
Chloe's story started with a routine visit to the pediatrician’s office and a need to update new athletic participation forms for high school. Chloe has just made the Varsity Poms team, which had been a goal of hers since she was in grade school. A low hemoglobin count from a finger poke indicated anemia and her doctor sent her to the lab for bloodwork. She didn’t think much of it at the time. She had been noticeably tired, but was just starting high school and keeping up with the demanding practice schedule of her new Poms team. She was exhausted, but she was a busy teenager. Chloe was so happy and everything she had worked so hard for was finally coming together. Her plan was in place and she was right where she wanted to be.
Then came the call. She had just come home from 4 hours of dance and her mom Kim was sitting outside with her phone in her hand. She told Chloe that the pediatrician had called with her results. He said that some levels were concerning and that they needed to be at the hospital within the hour. Upon Chloe's arrival, they repeated the bloodwork and confirmed what her pediatrician had suspected. That night, sitting in the ER of Children's Hospital, Chloe was told something that would change her forever... “Chloe, you have Cancer.” This was not in her plan.
The next month was spent in the hospital. Chloe learned that she had T-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia and that the treatment would take 2 and a half years to complete. She met with what seemed to be hundreds of doctors who didn't waste a single second. Although Cancer was not part of her plan, Chloe is so grateful that the doctors at Children’s Hospital had a plan in place for her and they started fighting back against her cancer immediately. Thanks to research made possible through the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, they knew exactly how to help her. Chemo and surgery to get her port in all happened within the first few days of receiving her diagnosis. Chloe's daily routine changed from school and poms practice to chemo infusions and blood transfusions. Her health became her number one priority as she began to stray away from Poms and began doing school through a Home-Hospital program. Unfortunately Chloe was too sick to continue on with her regular schedule. She was in and out of the hospital more times than she could count.
Before Cancer, she was rarely sick. However, she quickly learned that her body was extremely sensitive to medications. Relentless nausea led to the inability to eat and a need for a feeding tube, peripheral neuropathy led to “foot drop” and the need for leg braces, monthly high dose steroid pulses brought severe, excruciating bone pain; leaving her unable to walk. In the final months of her two and a half year treatment, she had to stop steroids and have Core Decompression surgery on her legs in order to keep her knee and hip joints from collapsing from Avascular Necrosis. All of this could have broken Chloe, but she didn't let it. She is stronger than Cancer.
Chloe shared that early on in her treatment, she made the realization that she wasn't going to let Cancer define her. 2018 was the first year that she attended the Light The Night walk. Just newly diagnosed, she got to see firsthand how much support she had and it motivated her to fight her battle with every bit of strength and positivity she could find. It also showed her that she wasn't alone and that she was surrounded by survivors and the hope of a life and a world without the worry of blood cancers.
"Nothing could have prepared me or my family for my battle with Leukemia. This journey has been incredibly long and difficult to say the least, but it has shaped me into the strong, confident and grateful person I am today. I love the person I am because I’ve fought so hard to become her. Now I am 17, a junior in high school and I just finished my treatment on January 2, 2021. I have been focused on getting my life back and I am so happy to say that I am dancing again! I have returned to Poms and school and am starting to figure out what my future is going to look like. I am thinking of becoming a Pediatric Oncology Nurse because of the immense difference my nurses made in my life. I feel the best mentally and physically that I have in a long time and am very motivated to continue to tell my story. The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society has been there for me throughout my journey and will forever hold a special place in my heart. I plan to continue to raise money and help in any way I can to find a cure for blood cancers."
"I want to thank everyone who made my journey to being CANCER FREE possible. Thanks to events like Light The Night and the sponsors, volunteers, friends and family that make it successful, we are getting that much closer to bringing light to the darkness of Cancer. I cannot thank you enough for your contributions to LLS. Because of this amazing foundation and the incredible doctors at Children’s Hospital, I’ve been given a second chance at life and I plan to make the most of it! I am extremely blessed to be given the opportunity to share my story. Thank you!"