Kaleigh, Age 6, Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL)

God is bigger than the boogieman!

After falling down while playing with her dog, Kaliegh developed a stubborn bruise that just wouldn’t go away. The Wilburns ended up in the middle of nightmare.  Kaleigh was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

(2005) – “We watched it closely,” said her mother, Sheri.  “But it just didn’t get any better.  I decided to take Kaleigh to an orthopedic surgeon to have it checked out.”

After a whirlwind of events, including a trip to Kaleigh’s pediatrician, the Wilburns ended up in the middle of nightmare.  Kaleigh, at the age of 3, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, the most common form of cancer among children.

“It was an unreal night,” said Sheri.  “It seemed like a heavy fog descended upon our family.  We weren’t really sure what was going to happen and how we were going to get through it.”

But upon arriving at Texas Children’s, Sheri says that the fog lifted.

“When we pulled up to the drive, a team of nurses and doctors was waiting for us, asking if we were the Wilburns.  It was at that moment, I knew that we were at the right place and had a glimmer of hope that everything was going to be OK,” said.

Almost immediately, Kaleigh began chemotherapy with her mom and dad at her side. Sheri used to read books to Kaleigh during tests and while she was in the hospital.

“When Kaleigh would become scared or sad, I would tell her ‘God is bigger than the boogieman’ to help reassure her that we could beat this cancer that was inside her body – that we could take the boogieman head on.”

And that she did.  She came through with flying colors, and is healthy and happy today.

But when you talk to Kaleigh about her cancer, you can tell that her experience profoundly affected her.  Tears welled up in her little eyes as her mom shared the memories.  Even at the tender age of six, you can tell that Kaleigh knows how precious life is.

She certainly doesn’t take it for granted.

Kaleigh is what you might describe as a “firecracker,” full of energy and spunk. Ask her about her Make-A-Wish trip to Walt Disney World, you can’t help but become fully engrossed in her adventures. This little girl is also an avid reader, getting her hands on a book anytime she can. It’s refreshing to hear a child in this day in age say that she wants to be a librarian when she grows up!

Seeing Kaleigh’s zest for life makes you appreciate what you have.  Once in a while, we all need that type of wake-up call.