Bailey loves karate and swimming, and is an avid artist and creative dancer. And like any normal child, she had a routine visit to her family doctor in April 2003 -- shortly after her fifth birthday. Within two months, however, she became extremely ill.
Bailey's mother, Terri, knew something was wrong when Bailey could not overcome a case of strep throat. After several trips to the doctor and urgent care for symptoms thought to be related to allergies -- a very pale Bailey was admitted to the hospital on June 12, 2003.
Althought leukemia was suspected, Doctors faced a challenge in diagnosing her illness. Bailey spent the next four weeks undergoing every test for every disease known to man, as her doctors put it. During this time she endured intubation in the ICU for nine days after going into respiratory distress. What was perfectly clear was that Bailey was very, very sick.
In mid-July, Bailey's monocytes and white blood count spiked dramatically and the consensus of many teams of doctors from throughout the United States was that Bailey indeed had JMML (juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia), an extremely rare and deadly form of childhood cancer. Only 20 per cent of children diagnosed with this disease survive. Most cases of JMML are diagnosed in infants and toddlers; Bailey, at five-years-old was considered old for this diagnosis.
JMML does not typically respond to conventional chemotherapy and raditation therapy, so a bone marrow transplant was the only possible cure. Against all odds, Bailey's father, Roger, was a donor match. Since less than 0.5 percent of parents are a match, this was extremely rare.
Five days before Bailey's transplant, the doctors discovered she had two spleens, both of which required removal before her procedure. Bailey received her bone marrow transplant on Oct. 21, 2003, and she responded well. However, having been bedridden for so long, she needed to build up her strength afterward. She finally returned home for good in mid-December 2003.
Almost immediately, Bailey's condition dramatically improved. By April 1, 2004 -- less than six months after her transplant -- she was again practicing karate and soon returned to school. One year after her transplant, Bailey had completely returned to normal health and happiness and all the activities she enjoyed before her diagnosis!