Ten-year-old Zion Knowles was diagnosed with Acute Lymphatic Lukeima (ALL) at the age of four, shortly before she would graduate from kindergarten, but today, the tween is healthy and she is also an inspiration for other children who are fighting cancer.
‘ALL’ is a common form of cancer present most often in children. In a healthy child, the bone marrow makes blood stem cells or immature cells that become mature blood cells. When a child has ALL, the bone marrow makes too many immature lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell).
Zion’s father, Jason Knowles, said despite his daughter’s ordeal, she never failed in her strength.
“For her, she wasn’t really aware of what was going on at the time, she was relatively young at the time and that helped,” Mr. Knowles recalled.
“We initially started treatment here at PMH before we transferred her to Miami. In about a month or two she was in remission from the chemo. However, she had a side effect to one of the medications that led to her having to stay in ICU for about a month.
“She was discharged but in about six to nine months she actually readmitted. The last hope at that point was to have a bone marrow transplant.
“We did not find a 100 per cent match, but an 80 per cent match. That happened in November of 2013, but because the transplant wasn’t a full match she had other issues with her digestive system. Her abdomen was swollen and she couldn’t bathe for like two years. It was a lot of ups and downs but we found organizations that would help and give us additional assistance,” she said.
“I wasn’t able to go through it for her, but I promised her I would be by her side. The nurses had to force me to get something to eat.
“But I just couldn’t leave her side, that was the only thing I could’ve done, I couldn’t take her away her pain, all I could do was be there.”