Imagine finding out that your daughter, who is just one month shy of your seventh birthday has Acute lymphoblastic leukemia. That was the diagnosis Isabella’s parents heard five-years ago this August.
To make matters more complicated Isabella tested positive for a marker that put her at high-risk for relapse. Isabella’s parents thought long and hard about what to do next and decided to try to treat the cancer as if the marker for relapsed didn’t exist because everything else was “low” risk.
Almost a year from completing her first Chemotherapy Isabella’s parents, Mary Alice and Gerardo learned that her numbers were again coming in low. Another month went by and her numbers were low again so the doctors did another test to find that yes, Isabella had in fact relapsed.
Mary Alice and Gerardo decided that this time they would pursue a bone marrow transplant to lessen the likelihood of relapse. When they found out that Isabella’s brother was not a match they went to the bone marrow registry. Amazingly they found there were 33 donors that were a match for Isabella!
In February 2010 Isabella received a life saving bone marrow transplant at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. After the transplant she was quickly back in remission and Isabella recovered so well that she was able to return to school just five months after her transplant.
When asked what Mary Alice and Gerardo would tell other parents that face a diagnosis like cancer Mary Alice remarked, “It really depends on what you as a parent need. I focused on my faith and trusted that the doctors had the knowledge necessary to help Isabella. Some people want to know all the data on survival rates and treatments, but for me we took it day to day, how she is feeling, and focused on that instead.”
Isabella is now 11-years-old and continues to be doing fantastic!
For more information, contact the American Cancer Society at 800-ACS-2345 or visit RelayForLife.org/LaJollaCA.