Little Ellie White was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) back in December 2017. She was isolated in a hospital room for six months, undergoing intensive treatments. Her condition fluctuated almost on a day-to-day basis, as she was getting weak both from the disease and the therapies.
In May, doctors told Ellie she could finally go home. For a few months, she was able to live a normal life again, but it did not last. Just as she was getting ready to go back to school, her leukemia returned. Everyone in the family was devastated.
AML is a form of cancer in which the bone marrow makes abnormal myeloblasts (a type of white blood cell), red blood cells, or platelets. It starts in the bone marrow and typically moves into the blood as well. It can spread to other parts of the body including the lymph nodes, liver, spleen, central nervous system (brain and spinal cord).
It’s unclear how Ellie developed AML, seeing how the disease is very uncommon in patients below 45 years. Prognosis is generally poor and is significantly lowered by relapse. Treatment would not be enough for Ellie, she now also requires a bone marrow transplant.
Her case received plenty of media attention, and Ellie’s grandmother even went on local Montreal news to help raise awareness. Chances of finding a match are pretty low, considering there are over 15 million different combinations of markers that need to overlap. She got the disease under control again, and it was up to fate to decide.
It seems miracles can happen, and thanks to the efforts of the Hema-Quebec Foundation, Ellie could soon have that lifesaving procedure. She still needs some tests to confirm that the disease is not present in her system before the bone marrow surgery. If everything goes well, she is scheduled to receive the intervention in mid-January, two years after the whole ordeal began.
Let’s all hope that Ellie finally gets well.