Teagan's brother, funny, caring and sensitive.
Aidan is a wonderful, funny, caring and sensitive young man. His current interests are: Baseball, Soccer, Lego’s and anything to do with Harry Potter. Although your typical nine year old, he has experience what many children his age could only imagine; the loss of a sibling.
Aidan was an all around great big brother to Teagan. He had just turned seven when his little sister Teagan was diagnosed with Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukemia (JMML). Although too young to understand the scope of Teagan’s illness, what he did get was that his family structure was definitely altered. It was no longer mom, dad, brother and sister at home. When Teagan began her Bone Marrow Transplant, one parent would stay at the hospital to care for her and the other would stay at home with Aidan. His school routine was managed by the weekly rotation of family friends taking him after school until one of his parents returned from the hospital. Amazingly, through all of this Aidan was able to maintain his school and sport activities.
Aidan received support from family and friends as well as many charitable organizations. Super Sibs, one of the first to contact us was very instrumental in keeping Aidan feeling important and not forgotten, as sibs sometimes are. Last summer he was able to experience Camp Okizu’s sibling camp where the focus is entirely on the siblings of children with cancer.
Aidan never lost focus of being a big brother to Teagan. He had a keen sense of wanting to protect her and even demonstrated it in a few drawings. For instance, in one drawing he portrayed himself on the cover of TIME magazine curing cancer at the age of 24. In another drawing he drew Teagan surrounded by germs while he was zapping them with a gun and caption saying, “I’ll protect you Teagan from these evil germs”.
Aidan gave Teagan love and support and more than anything, he made her laugh.
After eight long hours in the ER, Teagan was admitted to Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital (LPCH), in Palo Alto, CA. She had a high white blood cell count, bruising, and an enlarged Spleen and Liver, all of which are typical signs of leukemia. But what kind? Ten days later, after countless blood tests, x-rays and a bone marrow biopsy Teagan was diagnosed with Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukemia (JMML).
JMML is a virulent type of blood cancer that accounts for 1% of all childhood leukemia’s. The only treatment resulting in a cure for JMML is a Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT), with about a 50% survival rate. Risk of relapsing after a transplant is about 50%.
Teagan underwent a BMT at LPCH in May 2007 and endured many complications, two of them being life threatening, and spent a total of 7 months in the hospital. In November 2007, while still hospitalized, doctors informed us that her transplant had failed and the Leukemia was back.
Teagan was also dealing with her liver and kidneys functioning at 50% of normal due to the preconditioning chemotherapy in preparation for her BMT, as well as stage II Graft vs. Host disease of her GI tract, a common complication following a BMT. At this point we had very few treatment options all of which she was not likely to survive. It was a difficult decision but we chose quality of life for Teagan vs. putting her through additional treatments that she was unlikely to pull through.
We were discharged in December of 2007 with arranged home nursing/hospice care and biweekly transfusion at LPCH. In March of 2008, her leukemic cells began to proliferate at an alarming rate and doctors told us that we would not have much more time with Teagan. She was then introduced to a new oral drug that amazingly dropped her leukemic cells within days and she remained stable for the rest of the Spring and early Summer. We began to see Teagan’s decline by the end of the Summer when her cells began to steadily climb once again, but unfortunately this time the drug that we introduced back in March was not making a difference. In the midst of all these changes in her body, Teagan reached a very important milestone, starting Kindergarten.
Teagan had the wonderful opportunity to attend for two weeks, as it was all her little body could endure. Teagan passed away on the afternoon of September 19, 2008. She was and still is our inspiration for all that we do and feel in this world. A beautiful child that taught all she came into contact with to truly live and love. We love you and we miss you Teagan.