WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Jessie, a 3-year-old from Kansas, was able to beat liver cancer while at St. Jude.
She was diagnosed with the disease back in July of 2020.
According to her mom, Annie, Jessie started getting stomach aches and was just not feeling well. Her pediatrician had originally thought Jessie was constipated. Her doctor gave her a plan for the weekend and told her mom to bring Jessie back if things did not get better. Things did not, and she was brought back into her pediatrician’s office. Tanner, Jessie’s dad, said the doctor said he could feel something that was not supposed to be there. An ultrasound was then scheduled.
“They found some masses on her liver and they kind of immediately knew right then that something obviously wasn’t right,” said Tanner.
You have to be strong.”Jessie’s pediatrician
Jessie’s pediatrician had told Annie that Jessie’s liver was covered in tumors. Due to COVID-19, there was only one person allowed to go to the appointment with Jessie.
Jessie was sent to another hospital in Wichita for further testing before being transferred to St. Jude.
“We were hospitalized there for two weeks, and we’re fortunate enough that [the hospital] told us they felt like she could get better care somewhere else,” said Annie. “We were actually flown to St. Jude. Jessie and I were flown and Tanner drove and he met us there.”
That is when Jessie’s fight against liver cancer at St. Jude began.
“As soon as you walked into the hospital, you just felt like a sense of peace. You kind of felt comfort and a sense of relief,” said Annie.
Upon their arrival, they were treated by Dr. George, one of Jessie’s oncologists, who would follow her every step of the way in her fight against cancer.
The day after their arrival, Jessie started her chemotherapy treatment.
“That day after chemo was the first time she actually ate a piece of food, and it stayed down,” Annie said. She said anything Jessie tried to eat or drink within the two weeks prior would cause her to get sick.
Jessie would stay at St. Jude for six months.
“Everything they do there is to make families and, especially the patients, but the families as well, feel like they’re at home,” said Tanner. “It seems like you’re on a first-name basis with everybody. It’s like you know ’em, I mean it just, it basically, it really is a huge family.”
Jessie would participate in music therapy and get to see the therapy dogs.
“She enjoyed that, especially being away from our pups at home. So, that kind of brought some sense of home to her too,” Annie said.
Jessie also loved the playground at St. Jude.
“She was big on the playground,” said Annie. “We spent every afternoon there on the playground.”
Jessie had to constantly be on a fluid bag, that was connected to her through a port in her chest, to help her kidneys clear the chemo out of her body.
“Chasing her around that playground with that backpack and she can only go so far, and if she goes too far it gets pulled out, we would take shifts. But, she was big on the playground too so she met some other kids there, and just being outside and her getting to do things that a kid would do normally if we would be at home,” Annie said.
When reflecting on Jessie’s battle against liver cancer, Annie says, “St. Jude was just that godsend for our family and for so many others as well.”
You can also donate to St. Jude by clicking here.
“Every person who donates money, regardless of its a dollar or a million, that’s gonna save more lives than you have any idea,” said Tanner.
“To everybody that’s involved with raising money, for St. Jude patients and families, from our family we say thank you,” Annie said.