Hope, Strength, and Healing for families coping with a child cancer diagnosis

Meet Keaton’s Kiddo – Jaylen

Jaylen is like Iron Man with his arc reactor!

Jaylen is a sweet and thoughtful 4-year-old. Jaylen was diagnosed almost 6 months ago with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. His Mom shared the journey from her perspective.

“It started as a normal weekend for us and ended with Jaylen being in the hospital for two weeks. Thankfully, we noticed the signs his body was showing us, petechiae and lots of random bruises, that something was not right. We took him to Urgent Care first, but they could not help us so they sent us to the Emergency Room where we received the heart-stopping news that Jaylen most likely has Leukemia and would be admitted to the hospital. Everything from there started moving so quickly. He had blood and platelet transfusions, bone marrow aspirate, and started chemotherapy. Within six hours, our son went from, what we assumed, a very healthy four-year-old, to a neutropenic four-year-old.

Jaylen has been super strong and resilient through this entire process. He takes his medicine and goes to his appointments which, for the most part, he cooperates. Like any kid, he has his good and bad days. The bad days can get really tough because we are constantly fighting with him to do everything. His treatment process has gone smooth. He is exceeding the expectations of the doctors, which is great as a parent to hear. Thankfully, he has only been re-admitted to the hospital in the very beginning because he was febrile. After that hospital stay, he has been doing amazing at home. He has tons of energy still so he can keep up with his little sister Kaiya. Jaylen has surprised us with how aware he is with all that is going on. He understands that he is sick and cannot do all of the things that he is used to doing, like playing baseball and going to Pre-K. He misses going to daycare and seeing his friends and teachers tremendously, but he understands why he cannot go. He knows that he must be in Maintenance to do certain activities but will still ask us if he can do them when he feels better. Jaylen has a Port, which he refers to as his arc reactor like Iron Man. He calls himself a superhero and to his entire family, all of his daycare friends, and his teachers that is exactly what he is.”

Jaylen is also a superhero at Keaton’s and inspires us to keep our mission in motion. It has been an honor for Keaton’s to be part of Jaylen’s journey. Mom shared, “The support from Keaton’s Child Cancer Alliance has meant a great deal to our family. Our kids were able to have an amazing Christmas from the Adopt-a-Family. Jaylen was able to get the things for Christmas that we were not going to be able to give him because of hospital bills. We are extremely thankful for that and for the gas cards we received. Our kids enjoyed the Hope Chests so much, and the Aflac Duck is Jaylen’s favorite. The support from the Family Navigators has been the greatest, they really make us feel like they are a part of our family. We feel comfort in knowing that they are there for us when we need them. We, as a family, have felt such a relief from Keaton’s support. In these difficult times, it is nice to have a strong support system like Keaton’s to help us navigate through this journey.”

The team at Keaton’s could not be prouder of Jaylen and his resiliency through the obstacles being thrown in his path. The Family Navigator team looks forward to offering endless support and hope for this loving family and many others.

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Months before a clear diagnosis, Ellora was experiencing a loss of appetite, night sweats, and oversleeping. For Ellora, these symptoms were seen as normal for her or seen as natural changes in the growth of a 2-year-old. Eventually, she developed little spots on her hands and unexplained bruises on her body, which the doctors deemed Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP), but after seeing an informative TikTok video on the symptoms Ellora was experiencing, her mom’s gut told her it was something more than a bleeding disorder.

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Meet Keaton’s Kiddo – Samerah

14-year-old Samerah, best known as Sam has been battling quite the challenging journey, but with the love and support of her family, friends, and community she has been able to overcome so much. At the very young age of 2 months old, Sam was diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis. Neurofibromatosis is not an isolated disorder. It causes several different conditions and can lead to the development of tumors on the brain, spine, and the nerves that send signals between the brain and spinal cord.

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Meet Keaton’s Kiddo – Pedro

Strong and optimistic Keaton’s Kiddo Pedro has a heart for soccer and music, and he absolutely loves Chick-Fil-A! Being a teen at just 14 years old, Pedro was sadly diagnosed with a brain tumor called Juvenile Pilocytic Astrocytoma. Hear about Pedro’s journey from his point of view.

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