Paisley radiates light and is a beautiful source of positive energy. You would never have guessed this personable girl was born during a pandemic and lived in a hospital for more than 150 days. Behind that smile is a fierce warrior who bravely fights, and is winning, against pediatric cancer.
Paisley was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) shortly following her first birthday in July 2021. This was an extreme shock considering her joyful manner and normal bloodwork. Looking back there is still so much gratitude for the providers who listened to a mother’s intuition about a faint yet concerning mark on the side of Paisley’s face. Paisley’s AML was classified as high risk, with the best course of treatment being chemotherapy followed by a bone marrow transplant. The intense chemotherapy required Paisley to stay inpatient. For three rounds, each of approximately 30 days, Paisley and her parents lived within their Cleveland hospital room. They were thankful recipients of meals provided by A Special Wish during their August through December stay, including a memorable Thanksgiving holiday dinner.
Paisley’s fight led to Cincinnati for her final round of chemo before transplant, and she received lifesaving stem cells from a generous cord blood donor in December 2021. The nearly 60 days inpatient in Cincinnati were the roughest part of this journey, the most difficult being a ten day stay in the pediatric intensive care unit where Paisley’s light darkened until she mustered the strength to breathe on her own again. Paisley proudly walked the hospital corridor lined with cheering fans to ring the bell and signify her end of treatment in February 2022. Paisley’s recovery continued next door to the hospital at the Ronald McDonald House of Cincinnati until she was cleared to returned home in April 2022. Life post-transplant remains limited to protect Paisley’s building immune system, and she will continue to require precautions.
Paisley’s dance moves have returned, her love of shoes remains, and she continues to seek ways to make others smile. This cancer free 2-year-old looks forward to showing off her running skills and sharing friendly waves as a part of The 24 in 24 this October.