Posted: March 22, 2018
Meet Superhero Iyalee
Meet our spirited superhero, Iyalee (Leelee), who at just 7 years old was diagnosed with cancer – specifically B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (BCP ALL). Iyalee’s mother’s concern started when her daughter began experiencing leg pain that couldn’t be explained.
“At first we thought she hurt herself on the playground but I knew something was wrong. I had that gut feeling,” said Iyalee’s mother, Takai. After being sent home from the emergency room twice with a diagnosis of a leg sprain and then allergies, Takai and her family decided to stay put until they had an answer.
The doctors finally came back with a diagnosis that no one wanted to hear; seven-year-old Iyalee had BCP ALL. Her mother struggled with the decision to tell her 7-year-old daughter that she had cancer, wondering if she would be scared or even be able to understand.
Thankfully the medical team came fully prepared with books and dolls to explain what was happening. Treatment started immediately and as the hospital became her new home as Iyalee missed being in her own bedroom and most of all, her mother’s cooking. Hospital food and IVs quickly became two of her least favorite things.
Iyalee is still in treatment, and she has a wonderful support system behind her. After her diagnosis, her entire family flew out to be near her and support her every step of the way. That support continues as her family developed a new routine around hospital visits for chemo, steroids, spinal taps and more. Iyalee is currently on track to finish treatment in the summer of 2019.
CureSearch’s research programs are directly addressing the needs of children like Iyalee. Our Catapult Research Strategy is addressing the largest obstacles that are impeding medical progress to help push forward less-toxic treatments for kids with cancer. By supporting CureSearch, Love Your Melon directly funds Dr. Kara Davis’s research on BCP ALL so that children like Iyalee can go home to their families and live longer, healthier lives.
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