Meet May's Legendairy Little, Alyssa

By: Guest Contributor

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2 min

Each month we donate a portion of our proceeds to a child with medical needs through the Legendairy Littles program. During May, we will be featuring Alyssa.

At only one-month-old, Alyssa’s parents took her to the ER for a large lump that they thought was an inguinal hernia. Imaging showed a large lymph node, and bloodwork showed possible cancer. Unfortunately, due to lab complications, Alyssa’s leukemia was not diagnosed. For several months, Alyssa’s parents were in and out of the hospital for neutropenia, mysterious bruising, an eye bleed, a very swollen lumpy head, swollen eyes, and a stuffy nose that lasted for over a month. 

After spiking a fever, Alyssa was admitted and medevacked to a Children’s Hospital in another state. When she arrived at the new hospital, she could not open her eyes, was not eating, and hardly moving her limbs. She was four months old when she was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. Doctors said the disease was heavily progressed, and there was no time to lose. During the first few days at the hospital, Alyssa underwent several procedures, including a biopsy, Hickman line placement, and an MRI. During this, Alyssa was too weak to handle sedation and was transferred to the PICU on a ventilator. Despite her fragile state, she started chemotherapy. It was a very long and challenging few months for Alyssa and her family. Between heavy medications and frequent imaging, complications, and side effects seemed unending. Alyssa developed micro clots in her liver (VOD) and a fistula in her GI tract as some of her complications from chemo. 

 After her first round of chemo, her FLOW test (biopsy) came back showing 30% leukemia remaining in the marrow, indicating that Alyssa’s cancer was stubbornly resistant to chemo. Alyssa was put on track for a bone marrow transplant. However, days later, the FISH test (second half of her biopsy) came back showing 0.0% cancer cells detected.  Alyssa’s doctor had never seen such a difference in tests before! After a repeat biopsy, the FISH and FLOW tests showed no detectable cancer! Alyssa has completed three more rounds of chemotherapy and has one round remaining. She no longer needs to have a bone marrow transplant. With each round of chemo, she gets stronger and healthier. She is known among the staff at her hospital as the “miracle baby.” 

Alyssa is the sunshine of her hospital's cancer and blood disorders floor. She loves to walk the hospital halls in a wagon or car and venture to the rooftop garden, where she enjoys her only chance at fresh air and touching all the plants. The nurse hospital badges are an accessory that Alyssa loves, so the oncology nurses made a special one for Alyssa. The music therapist enjoys visiting Alyssa’s room with their guitar and singing “Baby Beluga” songs. When Alyssa was diagnosed, the Lord promised in a dream that Alyssa would be healed. Her family believes the promise was delivered in Alyssa’s not needing a transplant. 

During the month of May, a portion of our proceeds will be donated to Alyssa’s family to help with her ongoing medical expenses. If you would like to donate directly to their family, you may do so on their GoFundMe page:  https://www.gofundme.com/f/support-the-natekin-family

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