Honored Kid

Jillian L.

Age 16
Jillian L. Kid Photo

Location

San Pedro, CA, US

Diagnosis

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML)

Date of Diagnosis

October 2007

Status

Cancer free

Treated At

Miller Children's Hospital

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My Story

Jillian was diagnosed with AML (leukemia) when she was 21 months old following treatment for an ear infection that wasn’t getting better. Thank goodness her loving and intuitive pediatrician, Dr Julie Lin, caught it when she did! We were told Jilly may not have survived one more day if we hadn’t whisked her to Miller Children’s as soon as we got the test results! Her dad and I were overwhelmed with fear and anxiety. Her older sister, Anna, was only 3 and her life changed dramatically too. We lived in the hospital with our sick baby for 6 months (with short stints at home between chemo treatments).  Through it all, we were so fortunate to be surrounded by loving friends and family who helped us with meals, took care of and transported Anna to preschool/hospital and gave us much-needed physical and mental breaks.  The loving and intuitive doctors and nurses at Miller Children's, along with Child Life Specialists and the Discovery Arts Team got our baby through all of her procedures and  treatments, unexpected infections and all the nasty side effects of that yucky chemotherapy and tackled every little problem that arose during our long days and nights there.  They, and the other families with little ones also battling this terrible disease, inspired us to keep going and brought to light what truly matters.  Jillian danced in the hallways, blew bubbles, dressed up, sang songs, acted out plays, read stories, and had a grand old time--despite having cancer. She was, fortunately, unaware of how close she came to losing her life.  Sadly, so many little ones, only slightly older than Jillian, were VERY aware that this was BAD and had such a hard journey, not only physically, but emotionally and psychologically.  We shared a room with a 4 year old girl for a few days and her agonizing cries of "It hurts" and "I just want to go hoooome...." along with her mother's silent sobs as she rocked her to sleep just on the other side of the curtain, broke my heart!!  There were many families we spent hours and days and weeks with in the hospital who's babies didn't make it.  How devastating it was to wake up in the morning after a night of tossing and turning on the couch next to Jillian's bed, to find out that her little buddy in the next room, the one she looked forward to playing with in the playroom every morning, making pretend Play-Doh pizzas, didn't survive the night.  How did we end up getting through this, but they didn't?  I still struggle with this question.  It just isn't fair.Our family's experience with childhood cancer was transformative and has certainly impressed upon us how precious every single second of life is.  Jillian is an old soul, wise beyond her years, and as compassionate a person as one could ever know.  She has been professing since the age of 4 that she wants to work in the medical profession with kids who have cancer, and we believe that dream will be realized.  Her heart aches for the children who must fight this battle.  Anything she can do to help find a cure, she bravely will do.On behalf of our courageous 13 year old, Jillian Luna, who this year will shave her own gorgeous head of healthy hair for this most noble cause, THANK YOU for supporting her and the more than 300,000 kids worldwide who will be diagnosed with cancer this year. By sharing the gifts of your time, talent and money with the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, you're supporting research to give all kids with cancer a better chance for a cure.

The Childhood Cancer Ripple Effect

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