Long days in the hospital can be, well, long. For anyone. But when you're a soon-to-be sixth-grader, they can seem doubly so. Add to that repeated chemotherapy treatments, partial isolation, and a three-month wait for a bone-marrow transplant, and you've got a recipe for, well, antsiness. So you can understand why Lacey McClain from Pine Island, Minnesota, was in a celebratory mood after learning her chemo treatments were finally coming to an end.
So one of the first things young Lacey did to celebrate was to hang a handmade sign that read "Last Day of Chemo" in her hospital window so that those "on the outside" could celebrate with her. "We wanted people to be able to see it from the outside, but we didn't really think it would get any kind of reaction," her mother, Chrissie Jurrens, told us earlier this week. (Sorry, that knock on your door was our reaction.) You see, when we left Lacey back on Feb. 6, she was in the hospital waiting for her shot at a bone marrow transplant after having been diagnosed with T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Unfortunately, none of her family members was a match.
It's been hard to watch Lacey endure the repeated chemotherapy treatments she's needed to keep her disease in remission while waiting for that transplant, Jurrens tells us. But as it turned out, the family's wait came to an end on May 24, three months after a call went out to local community members to sign up for the Be The Match Registry, the national bone marrow registry dedicated to matching patients with suitable donors. At the end of those months, the Red Wing Republican Eagle reports, a match was finally found "in the form of an umbilical cord blood donation, which can be used as an alternative to bone marrow."
Now, two weeks and change since Lacey's transplant, Jurrens also tells us the family is in another waiting game -- waiting to return home. "We're waiting for her counts to come back now, so for the first 100 days we have to stay very close," she says. "We're very much looking forward to going home. We just don't know when that will be." One thing they do know, according to Jurrens, is that none of it would have been possible without Lacey's care team. "We couldn't have asked for a better team," she says.
You can follow Lacey's ongoing road to recovery via her public Facebook page. Then, be sure to follow along with us by sharing your thoughts below, and share this story with others using the handy social media icons atop this page.