Laney left this earth to take her position as a true angel in heaven on December 25, 2013, after battling this disease with grace and strength!
Delaney was a fun-loving little girl who was a student at Wyomissing Hills Elementary in the second grade. She enjoyed participating in Girl Scouts and was a beautiful ballerina. Laney loved all things girly-especially pink and animal prints but did have a special place in her heart for alligators. She was an avid shopper and loved fashion.
On May 27, 2013, Laney was diagnosed with high-risk AML with monosomy 7. Due to her high risk and resistance to chemotherapy she had an extensive stay at Hershey Medical Center while doctors determined how to manage her very rare case. She was one of ten in the nation to have the genetic marker of monosomy 7. She had gone for a second opinion at CHOP and was told that because it was so rare that there were no new medications or trials in the works. That was one of the most devastating days in her family’s life.
Laney spent almost 150 consecutive days admitted to Hershey Hospital. Her family tried to make this period of time fun for Laney by playing jokes on the doctors and nurses, baking with her Easy-Bake oven, painting her room window with murals, and doing arts and crafts.
The process of getting her leukemia cells down had gone much slower than most and had required very high doses of chemotherapy. Laney had undergone multiple bone marrow biopsies, spinal taps, and tube insertions. Throughout the process, she remained upbeat and optimistic. She had faith that her cure was on the horizon and she would be healed.
When they finally got the cancer cells as low as they could get them they started to prepare her for a bone marrow transplant. She required full-body radiation (total body eradication), high dose chemotherapy, and immunosuppressants prior to her transplant which happened on September 19th. She received umbilical cord stem cells because her cancer was so aggressive and came back so fast that they couldn’t risk the time needed to prep a bone marrow donor. She needed these new cells to kill off the last small amount of cancer that the chemo and radiation were ineffective in the killing. After waiting anxiously for her counts to come up, her family finally received the news that she was 100% donor cells and there were no cancer cells in her blood. She was officially in remission! She was finally discharged from the hospital on October 23rd to a local apartment for frequent clinic visits.
Laney had spent over a month out of the hospital without any complications. Towards the end of November, she acquired a virus. The doctors were giving her medication on an outpatient basis to hold the virus at bay until her new immune system kicked in and began to produce virus-fighting cells. They were able to treat her outpatient for a couple of weeks but even with the medication, her viral count continued to climb. On December 8th she developed a fever and they decided to admit her to the hospital. She wasn’t feeling well during this time and began to lose weight. Her viral count was still rising as well.
December 17th, the family received the most devastating news. They had found cancer cells in Laney’s blood again. They were told that if they treated cancer with chemotherapy, it would kill off any cells that were keeping the virus from taking over her body and she would die. And if they treated the virus, cancer would overtake her body and she would die. They estimated that she had a couple of days to a week to live.
No parent ever wants to hear that there is nothing that they can do for your child. Her family made the decision to take her home. She hadn’t been home since July so it was important that she got to come home for her last moments of life surrounded by family and friends. She was discharged from the hospital on December 19th, the day before her 8th birthday.
She celebrated her birthday on December 20th and Santa came early for her on the 21st. Her family tried to keep her as comfortable as possible. On Christmas morning at 3:10 am Laney took her last breath in the arms of her mother and father.
Penn State Berks Benefitting THON will continue in our fight against pediatric cancer of all forms and hope that you will all join us in this effort. We dance today to fight pediatric cancer in the hopes of one day dancing for joy to win this battle by wiping out pediatric cancer!
To further support Laney and her family, please visit Laney’s Legacy of Hope Facebook Page or their Website.
If you would like to donate, be sure to donate under general organizations, and designate Berks Org #77. Thank you so much!