Patient Stories
  • Center for Cancer & Blood Disorders (CCBD)

Never Too Young to be a Hero

Searching for a Diagnosis

Baylee was sent to the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Phoenix Children's. Rounds of tests by multiple specialists finally pinpointed the problem: Baylee was suffering from juvenile jyelomonocytic leukemia — a leukemia so rare, there is no test for it.

“She was 13 months old and our world just crumbled,” says Baylee’s mother, Sharon. Baylee immediately started on chemotherapy but her only hope of survival was a bone marrow transplant. Their attending physician, Roberta Adams, MD, explained the best chance would come from a sibling match — specifically, Baylee’s 3-year-old brother, Brody.

A Lifesaving Gift

“We told Brody he could save the life of one of the kids in the hospital — he could be a hero,” says Sharon. We didn’t tell him that person was his sister because we didn’t want to scare him.”

The bone marrow transplant took place in November of 2008. Initially, the transplant was a success. But then Baylee had serious complications. Brody’s healthy cells were doing their job but were also causing multiple organ failure. The only solution was a medically-induced coma that would allow doctors to treat her without fear of her moving or pulling out her breathing tube.

“We were terrified,” says Sharon, “But all of the doctors and nurses at Phoenix Children’s were so patient and careful to explain everything to us. As bad as it got, it was a battle each and every person was 100% involved with. They all worked together to save my child.”

Slowly, Baylee improved. She went home for good in April of 2009, seven months after she arrived. “On the day we brought her home, we said to Brody, ‘You saved your sister’s life.’ And of course the same goes for everyone at Phoenix Children’s. We can’t thank them enough.”


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