…67 Days Until Race Day
Presley is 19-years-old and recently “finished my first semester at Texas Tech University (Guns Up!!) where I am majoring in Electronic Media and Communications (my dad says I am majoring in SnapChat).”
Diagnosed at age 11 with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Philadelphia Chromosome + (ALL PH+), Presley‘s treatment consisted of 18 months of in-patient chemo and 18 months of out-patient chemo.
She still takes oral chemo…DAILY.
Here is Presley‘s story in her own words:
“When I was diagnosed, I thought I was a normal 11-year-old volleyball player in fifth grade. I had a history of sinus problems so when I didn’t feel well, my dad took me to the doctor. It was during the swine flu epidemic, so the doctor decided to draw some blood and check for swine flu.
I hated needles and shots, but made it through the blood draw. After 15 or 20 minutes, they came back in and drew a couple more vials. The doctor prescribed antibiotics for my cough but said that the test came back with an elevated white blood cell count.
They asked us to come back for a follow up visit on Monday.
On the following Monday, they drew more blood and told us they were sending them off to a lab for testing and they would have the results on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, I am back in school and feeling much better.
That Tuesday, May 19, 2009, they called my dad at work. They told him to come by the office and pick up the records, then pick me up at school and take me to Texas Children’s Hospital Emergency Room.
They had already called the Oncology Department and they were expecting us shortly. My parents picked me up from school at 1:00 PM to go “run some tests”. By 7:00 PM, I was diagnosed with leukemia and by 2:00 AM I was on my new second home – the ninth floor (cancer) of Texas Children’s Hospital.
My parents told me I had a disease called leukemia, but didn’t tell that leukemia was cancer. I only overheard the “C” word when some doctors were talking to my parents in my room the next day.
One round of chemo and two weeks later, the news got worse.
My doctor told me that I had a rare form of leukemia that only 3% of children are diagnosed with. I was the first case Texas Children’s Cancer Center had seen in nine years.
So for the next three years, Texas Children’s Hospital was my second home. Treatment really took a toll on my body. Once, I ended up in the ICU for five days, with seven IV pumps pumping antibiotics through my veins.
Thankfully, I don’t remember much, but apparently I met Craig Biggio. At least there is a picture to prove that I did.
Going through this definitely changed me as a person. It made me realize that some of the strongest people have the weakest bodies.
I want to commit my life to help kids going through exactly what I went through. I want to support them and help them feel like normal kids.
My family and I have done just that. We started the Texas Chapter of Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation. We have raised over $250,000 to support Texas Children’s Hospital and families going through cancer treatment.
May 19th, 2009 is important to me because this was the day I was diagnosed. This day reminds me every day that no one is invincible.” – Presley
Concerned, I asked Coach Brian Caldwell if I was regressing or if we had stepped up the level of training.
“You’re doing things that not many people can do. I’m taking you so close to red-lining because you’re willing to go there.” – Brian Caldwell
So, Presley, you had a rare cancer and apparently, I’m either a rare type of person or just an idiot who doesn’t know when to stop. Either way, we won.
Who will you meet tomorrow?