Javon & Jakayla
11 years old/6 years old
acute lymphoblastic leukemia
In many ways, Javon and Jakayla are typical kids. Javon likes to hang out with his friends, play video games and sing. Jakayla, who loves music and Dora the Explorer, recently donned a cap and gown and celebrated her kindergarten graduation.
But what sets Javon and Jakayla apart from other kids is the fact that they’ve both been patients at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for most of their lives.
Javon was just 2 years old when he was first diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), the most common form of childhood cancer. He underwent chemotherapy for three years, and on the day he was supposed to end treatment, Javon’s family learned his cancer had come back. He underwent an additional 146 weeks of chemotherapy. He finished treatment in 2008, and for two years his cancer stayed in remission.
But in 2010, Javon’s family learned he’d relapsed again. This time, he underwent chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant, with his dad serving as his donor. Today, Javon’s cancer is in remission.
Jakayla has also been a patient at St. Jude since she, too, was found to suffer from ALL when she was 2 years old. Her initial treatment included two-and-a-half years of chemotherapy, but in March 2012, Jakayla’s family was devastated to learn her cancer had returned.
Jakayla’s continuing treatment includes chemotherapy and a haploidentical bone marrow transplant. Her cancer is currently in remission.
Javon and Jakayla have been with each other through the good and the bad. They provide comfort and laughter to one another on the difficult days. "They love each other," said their mother. "They always want to be by each other’s side."