About Emily

emily-whitehead-2-cancer-free-bemily-whitehead-cancer-freeHi, I’m Emily!

On Friday, May 28, 2010, just a few weeks after my 5th birthday, I was diagnosed with standard risk pre-b acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) at Hershey Medical Center.   I was supposed to get chemotherapy treatments for 26 months and doctors said I had an 85%-90% chance of being cured; however, on October 6, 2011 I found out my leukemia relapsed and then they told me I only had a 30% chance of being cured.  I received aggressive chemotherapy through January 2012 and was scheduled for a bone marrow transplant in February 2012; however, I found out on February 4, 2012, just two weeks before my transplant, that I relapsed again. Doctors tried more chemotherapy through the months of February and March but could not get me back into remission. At that point, doctors said that I was not going to get better with chemotherapy. In April 2012 I was enrolled into a phase I clinical trial at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). It was highly experimental but my mommy and daddy knew we had to try something different to treat my cancer. I was the first pediatric patient to receive genetically modified T-cells to help fight my leukemia. I was very sick after I got my new cells and was in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) for several weeks on a ventilator. I fought very hard and made it through because my amazing medical team worked around the clock to figure out why I got so sick and how to make me better. Plus I had thousands of prayers from my friends, family, community and supporters. In May 2012 I found out the new cells worked and that I was in remission!! I came home from the hospital June 1, 2012 and have been doing very well!

My mommy and daddy (Kari and Tom) are writing about me on this site to keep friends and family updated on my progress.  I love to read messages from everyone who is thinking about me and saying prayers for me, so please leave a comment.

Love, Emily

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