"My name is Shaelyn. I am six years old. Thank you for joining Team in Training and good luck!”
- Shaelyn Martin
Shaelyn was born Sept 3rd, 2007 and appeared to be a very healthy and content baby. Just two months later, when we took her to Children’s Hospital for what we thought was a simple check up for a minor cold or indigestion; we were informed that she had Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). The life we knew was instantly changed and Shaelyn started a year long treatment process. At first, doctors told us that since Shaelyn was so young, and the treatment was so intensive, that the odds of survival were stacked against her. The vast majority of her first year of life was spent in the hospital.
Shaelyn battled through some uncomfortable side effects noticed in the early process of her treatment, but as time went on she started a constant level of improvement from day to day and week to week. At the end of her treatment she had responded so well that we had every reason to believe that she had beat the odds and was fully cured. For the next year, our family adjusted back into normal life and as time went on, we gained confidence that Shaelyn's toughest days were behind her. Shaelyn went for regular checkups to the Oncology clinic after her treatment just to ensure her recovery was still progressing and that there were no signs of relapse. It got less and less worrisome for us to take her to these appointments since we were getting used to receiving positive news every time.
When my wife took Shaelyn for her one year post treatment checkup, our confidence was as high as ever... unfortunately we learned during this checkup that Shaelyn’s Leukemia had returned. Her treatment process once again needed to start immediately and we adjusted back into life living at the hospital.
Since Shaelyn was now over two years old, the doctors felt the best chance for recovery was a bone marrow transplant (a procedure she was too young to handle during her first course of treatment). Shaelyn responded well to the treatment as she prepared for the transplant. We were very blessed that the doctors had found several donors that they considered perfect matches for her. They chose the best of the donors for her to be from a female, that all we could be told was from somewhere in the United Kingdom.
Following the bone marrow transplant Shaelyn was very fortunate to have a speedy recovery and she had almost no side effects or signs that her body would reject the transplant. Just over six weeks after the transplant, we were allowed to take Shaelyn home, and we once again started the process of adjusting to normal life.
Since Shaelyn’s treatment, she has grown very strong and is now a very happy and healthy six year old girl who is full of energy and loves to laugh. It has been over three years since Shaelyn's transplant and her future is extremely bright.