21 Months Old at Diagnosis
Margo Miller was 21-months-old when her parents and preschool teachers noticed she wasn’t herself. It started with a slight fever one Sunday, followed by days of low appetite, wanting to be carried and fussiness. She just wasn’t her gregarious self. By Thursday night she had a fever that sent her to the pediatrician on Friday. Margo’s parents assumed she was teething, had an ear infection or possibly a virus effecting her throat, but the pediatrician could find nothing to explain her symptoms.
Thankfully, he recommended they return if she wasn’t better or of course if she worsened. The family tried to enjoy a normal weekend, overly observing any changes and noticing too that Margo seemed to have pain in her legs.
Margo’s mom took her back to the pediatrician on Monday, because not only was Margo not improved, but now there were noticeable red speckles on her legs. An immediate blood test proved the pediatrician’s fear that something was terribly wrong. Margo had acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Margo’s mom, Gina, rushed her to the hospital where a bed was waiting for Margo’s admission and her treatment journey began on June 25, 2012.
Margo’s original treatment protocol involved 1 year of high-dose chemotherapy followed by 2 years of maintenance chemotherapy. As the family settled into their new normal, finding ways to make hospital visits fun for Margo and keep life as normal as possible for Margo’s brother Max, Gina looked for an organization to get involved with and found CureSearch’s Ultimate Hike. While Margo underwent treatment, Gina trained for her first Ultimate Hike. She completed the Ultimate Hike Tecumseh Trail in October of 2013!
Unfortunately, 3 months after the Ultimate Hike and only 19 months into her 3-year treatment, Margo’s leukemia returned. Because she relapsed while she was still in treatment for her original diagnosis, Margo’s options weren’t clear. Her doctors decided that a bone marrow transplant was the best course, and started Margo on intense chemotherapy in an effort to get her into remission.
Sadly, Margo was unable to achieve a second remission and never qualified for a bone marrow transplant. Margo’s family first attempted a groundbreaking, targeted immunotherapy clinical trial at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. After that failed, Margo and her mom traveled to NYC to try several additional clinical trials at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Margo spent 183 nights inpatient in NY before her precious little body decided it was too weak to try any longer.
Margo was transported back home to St. Louis, MO, where she was able to spend a very happy Christmas at home with her family. Margo has been free of pain since God took her home on December 31, 2014.
Margo’s family continues to support CureSearch by raising funds through several events using CureSearch Gold.