Katelyn diagnosed at 4, Aplastic Anemia

Life is good these days for Katelyn. After undergoing a bone marrow transplant, few activities are beyond her reach – even her beloved dance lessons and school.

Katelyn only has one complaint.

“Her hair has grown back just enough for people to mistake her for a little boy. She hates that,” said Katelyn’s mom, Mary.

For Katelyn, returning from illness to “normal life” has been a journey in every sense of the word.

Two weeks after her fourth birthday, Katelyn was diagnosed with aplastic anemia, a life-threatening disease that hinders the ability of bone marrow to produce new blood cells. The disease left Katelyn dependent on blood and platelet transfusions to remain alive.

When one treatment option after another failed, Mary brought Katelyn from their home in Illinois to Texas Children’s Cancer Center for a bone marrow transplant.

Mary said she and her daughter always will think of the patients, parents and medical staff that they came to know at Texas Children’s Cancer Center’s transplant unit as part of their family. At the hospital, staff members made a point of treating the whole child, she said.

Today, Katelyn’s doctors are cautiously optimistic about the procedure’s success. If Katelyn remains free of her disease one year after the transplant, the odds of her staying healthy are even better, Mary said.

“Her original disease could come back, but the chances are low,” Mary said. “It’s working for now. Looking at Katelyn, you’d never be able to tell anything had been wrong.”