Ariel was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia at the age of three. It was June 24th 2016, and it was the hardest day of our lives. I brought Ariel into the hospital because she was extremely lethargic, turns out she needed to have a blood transfusion because the leukemia had affected her blood counts. She had three transfusions in the first night and several more throughout treatment. I could not believe my precious three-year-old was about to start chemotherapy. The first thing they wanted to do was put Ariel under and place a permeant port in her chest, then get a sample of her bone marrow to see how far the leukemia had spread in her little body. We were admitted into the hospital, after her surgery and awaited the results. When we got the results back 90% of her bone marrow was leukemia cells, it had almost taken over her whole body. They explained the treatment process to us and that their goal was to get Ariel into remission in the first month of treatment and then she would have two years of maintenance chemotherapy. They explained that if Ariel went into remission then came back out of remission that her only option then would be to have a bone marrow transplant. This whole process has been the scariest thing I have ever experienced in my life. Every time we go to clinic to get blood work and chemo I get so nervous they will come back with bad news.
Ariel has had the worst side effects from the chemotherapy as well, she goes to physical therapy every week because she has neuropathy and necrosis in both of her legs and left arm. She could not walk across a room after her first month of chemotherapy. She will always have the neuropathy for the rest of her life but the necrosis will hopefully get better once she is done with chemotherapy. But one of the worst side effects from her chemotherapy was her blood count going low which caused her to have to have a blood transfusion, Ariel has had so many of them, to date she has had over 20 blood transfusions. I cannot put into words how important it is that people donate their blood, because a complete stranger has saved my daughter’s life multiple times. Also, so many children find themselves needing a bone marrow transplant and in the back of my mind there is always a possibility of Ariel needing one. So please come to the blood and bone marrow registry drive on May 10th 2018 at the Robert Cherry Civic Center – 2701 Park Avenue – Paducah, KY 42001. Book for Hope will host the drive from 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM. The most unselfish thing a person can do is save another person life by donating, hope to see you there.
My name is Skylynn LaRue Fortner, mother of Ariel Burton.