Our Impact

JENNIFER

Jennifer is 7 years old and was diagnosed with acute B lymphocytic leukemia in August 2012, a type of cancer of the blood and bone marrow. Jennifer was treated with an aggressive regimen of chemotherapy at the Children's Cancer Institute at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children's Hospital at Hackensack University Medical Center and she completed her treatment in October 2014. Unfortunately, routine scans performed in August 2015 revealed that she relapsed, so she underwent additional treatment protocols including a bone marrow transplant in December 2015. In July 2016 Jennifer experienced acute vision loss and headaches due to another relapse that damaged her optical nerves. As a result, Jennifer began a new protocol involving cranial radiation and chemotherapy. Jennifer is now closely followed by a neuro ophthalmologist in addition to her oncology medical team. Psychosocially, Jennifer and her family have endured significant setbacks. At the time of her initial relapse in August 2015, Jennifer’s mother was pregnant and gave birth a month after Jennifer completed her bone marrow transplant. During this time, Jennifer’s father lost his part-time job, and his full-time job schedule was reduced to accommodate Jennifer’s medical needs. As a result, the family’s household income decreased considerably. Jennifer’s older siblings have endured difficult and changing circumstances as they struggle to balance the demands of school, supporting Jennifer, helping Mom and Dad with the new baby and trying to be normal 10 and 13-year old kids. Not surprisingly, Jennifer has experienced significant trauma as a result of her disease and the treatments she has received since she was diagnosed at age three. Although she has recovered her vision to some degree, there is permanent loss. Jennifer and her family presently receive counseling services to help them manage the impact of the multiple relapses and the physical and emotional scars as a result of her treatments. Financial support from The Jillian Fund has helped alleviate some of these stresses and allow the family to focus on caring for Jennifer and maintaining a sense of normalcy.