Meet our young warriors

Meet Adeleen – Leukemia Warrior

"Our daughter has been through so much. Thank you. We truly appreciate everything the NCCS does,” said Adeleen's mom.

Adeleen was a happy, healthy little girl, besides the occasional cold. But when she began having persistent fevers and uncontrollable coughing, her parents grew very concerned. During Adeleen’s one year check-up, her mother, Eussa, shared her concern to their pediatrician. The doctor agreed that while these symptoms were not particularly abnormal, it was strange that they were frequent and lasting. Adeleen underwent a battery of tests which revealed something was very wrong, but it took doctors almost a month to pinpoint the exact problem. Finally, after an emotionally draining month, doctors had their answer. Adeleen was diagnosed with juvenile mylomonocytic leukemia (JMML).

Adeleen’s care team was in the midst of creating a treatment plan when suddenly, her spleen became enlarged. She immediately underwent platelet transfusions, but things only worsened. Doctors started Adeleen on chemotherapy so they could safely remove her spleen. Sadly, Adeleen endured many side effects from chemotherapy, such as septic shock, fluid build-up around her heart, and was placed on a breathing tube – all in the ICU. “It was very scary,” said her father, Benjamin. After seven rounds of chemotherapy, Adeleen needed a bone marrow transplant. Unfortunately, this procedure was repeatedly delayed due to low counts, a bacterial infection, fevers, and rashes. When Adeleen was finally well enough to undergo the transplant, her little sister, Emmarie, became her donor and saved her life.

Adeleen’s parents alternated staying with their daughter so she would never be alone. This was very hard for Adeleen’s family financially since both parents worked full time and had three other children to care for. Between the emotional and financial impact of Adeleen’s treatment, Eussa and Benjamin felt overwhelmed. Their hospital social worker listened to their concerns and referred them to the NCCS for support. After speaking with an NCCS case manager, Eussa felt a sense of relief. The organization provided treatment-related travel assistance so Adeleen never missed a chemotherapy session or a follow-up appointment. Their case manager also provided the family with our parent guide for comfort during their cancer journey. “Our daughter has been through so much. Thank you. We truly appreciate everything the NCCS does,” Eussa shared. Overall, Adeleen endured two grueling years of cancer treatment. She suffered side effects, endured countless procedures, and has spent more time in the ICU than most children her age. While she is still seen monthly for follow-up scans, we are happy to share that she is declared cancer-free!