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Kayden Burkhead: Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

Updated: Jul 12, 2019

Hello! Thank you for taking the time to read our first blog post! We want to use this platform to talk about our BFF Buddies, the warriors that are fighting this awful disease called cancer and also those that have gained their angel wings. We also wanted to educate you on the facts of childhood cancer and the cancer's these brave kids are fighting.

Our first post will be about a local warrior from Geneseo, IL. Kayden Burkhead is an energetic 6 year old, entering first grade in the Fall! Kayden was diagnosed January 14th, 2019 with ALL (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia). The nurse at Kayden's school noticed his color was off when he returned from Christmas break. Kayden's parents took him to his pediatrician, and were told his hemoglobin was low. He was then taken to OSF Children's Hospital in Peoria IL, where they did a bone marrow biopsy and found the leukemia. Treatment for ALL is 2 1/2 years. Kayden will continue treatment until August of 2021.

ALL is considered to be one of the most "common" childhood cancers. It occurs when bone marrow cells develop errors in it's DNA. It is considered "common" but there is no specific reason for why it is developed.

In people with ALL, a type of blood stem cell called a lymphoblast begins to function abnormally. Instead of maturing into fully functioning lymphocytes — important immune-system cells — the lymphoblasts multiply out of control, and they don’t die off like normal blood cells do.The underdeveloped (leukemic) cells can’t carry out their normal infection-fighting functions. They build up in your bone marrow and blood, crowding out normal, healthy blood cells that your body needs.  ALL gets worse quickly if it is left untreated, which makes it important to start treatment soon after diagnosis.(

Kayden was one of the first to receive one of our BFF bags! We are so happy to help encourage him as he fights this disease.

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