“She’s the strongest girl I know,” said Linda Ford, mother of her 12-year-old Megan, about her daughter who was diagnosed with T-cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL).
T-cell ALL is a type of blood cancer, beginning from white blood cells in the bone marrow. Generally, the cause of ALL is unknown. Megan’s family knew she hadn’t been feeling well, and after several trips to the doctor, everyone was expecting to hear that Megan had mono. The news that came blindsided them.
“Hearing Megan had ALL literally dropped me to my knees,” said Linda. “The rest of that day was a blur as I struggled to deal with the news, inform friends and family and try to pack for the next week in the hospital. It just didn’t feel real.”
Since her diagnosis, Megan’s treatment schedule hasn’t been easy. Yet, throughout her procedures, chemotherapy treatments or side effects, Megan hasn’t flinched.
“Her attitude has been that this is just a bump in the road, and she needs to do what she needs to do to get through it and on with her life,” said Linda.
Most recently, the family had to leave Iowa for several months to be in Minnesota for the bone marrow transplant, causing Megan to be apart from her friends and her beloved dogs, Kelley and Jasper. Thankfully, the trip was a successful one, as Megan’s 9-year-old brother, Noah, was a perfect match to donate bone marrow to his sister. Statistics said there was only a one in four chance that Noah would match, and miraculously, it was the answer for which they were hoping.
Megan’s strength has been evident not only in her mental toughness, but her physical willpower, as she’s continues to attend school and participate in activities as she is able. Megan is involved in 4-H, with her favorite projects including horticulture, sewing, communications, fashion review, baking and showing her dogs. She also enjoys band, chorus, dance, ELP, student council and mock trial.
Currently, Megan’s treatment involves medications three times per day, multiple visits to the clinic for labs and visits with physicians, physician assistants and fellows and physical therapy several times a week. Her determination and outgoing, social personality still shine through.
“I’m finding that I’m not so worried about tomorrow,” said Linda. “We find moments to celebrate in each day, whether they are big or little, and we’ve been blessed to find those moments every single day.”