Many of you have been following the story of Jessica Seidel. Since I first heard about this young girl in December (thanks to the generosity of one of her Washburn Rural Middle School classmates, Drake), her story and her family have become more special and personal to me. Dave, her dad, calls me with updates and always has a warm smile and hug when I see him. Leslie, her mom, has one of the gentlest, kindest personalities; and Jordan, her brother, is one of the most intelligent eight-year-olds I've ever had the pleasure to meet.
Jessica I have yet to meet, but constantly hear how smart, unselfish and strong she is.
Jessica is scheduled for a bone marrow transplant Monday, April 6th. Right now, she's not doing so well. Her HLH - the cancer in her bone marrow - has been really attacking her body lately. That means more chemo, more medicine, more stress on her 12 year old body... and all of that the week before she has to prepare her body for a transplant that is done over an eight-hour period. It's a lot to go through no matter how old or tough you are.
[Leslie and Jessica]
Leslie, stays with her at Children's Mercy in Kansas City while Dave and Jordan visit from Topeka when they can. Thankfully, Dave has been able to get the week off work to visit his daughter. They'll be able to stay at the Ronald McDonald House this weekend to be close those last few days before Jessica's transplant.
[Jordan and Jessica, Christmas Day 2008]
The community has been great responding to this story. There have been numerous donations, blood drives and more than 300 folks registered to be tested as possible bone marrow matches in honor of Jessica's need for a donor. All of those things have helped the Seidels get to this point... but what happens next won't be affected by any amount of money or blood donations --- Jessica needs prayers and positive thoughts to fight what is going on inside her body. It's in the hands of God and her doctors.
Please remember Jessica and her family during this tough time. Let's all pray that a month from now those prayers will turn to praise and Jessica's body will be accepting new bone marrow and be rid of the HLH.
[I love this cap of Jessica's! - You tell that cancer what's up, Jess.]
Follow Jessica's story at http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/jessica16, where Leslie updates what's going on.