Years of treatment: 2.5 years, in February, she finished her final dose of chemo
Hometown: Lexington, KY
Type of cancer: Leukemia
Tell me about the moment you find out about Amaya’s diagnosis?
Lori: Amaya was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia at the age of 5. In that year, she began walking with a limp, but we thought it was just growing pains. After her birthday in November, she began complaining about her leg hurting and then running a consistent fever, which is very much unlike her. Early December, we went to the Kentucky Children’s Hospital where Amaya received both an MRI and CT scan. While waiting for the results, all I could think about is the unknown of what could happen and what might happen. This little spirit of a girl, Amaya, looked at me and only reassured me to not worry and said “God’s got this, Mommy.”, which left with me a little bit of peace and I thought “this is nothing”. We received word that the scans came back with a spot on Amaya’s leg. So, on December 3rd, she received a bone marrow and on December 4th, we were told she had leukemia. Our first thoughts were “wow” and “why God?”. But then I remembered my little girl saying “God’s got this, Mommy,” so I asked the doctors “Okay, what’s next, let’s get this treatment started. I know we are here for a reason, at UK and let’s just move forward”.
Tell me about the hardest part of this experience?
Lori: We were so active with our family and we were very social people. We went from doing things almost every day with our church, school, friends, and family to her counts are too low to do anything. My little girl’s best friend lived across the street and she had to stand at the door and watch her friend ride her bike up and down the street without her. That was heartbreaking. The hardest moment was missing friends and family.
How has DanceBlue impacted you?
Lori: To see students take time out of their busy schedule. But, it’s not even that; it’s their hearts. Students don’t look at it as if they have to, it but they want to. They want to be here and support the kids. They put smiles on everyone’s faces and I want them to know they are loved and supported. They have our backs through all the ups and downs. We walk in the clinic, no telling how Amaya feels, but we have the reassurance that they will be there to cheer her up every time.
What DanceBlue programs have you participated in?
Amaya: We get to go to our Adopt-a-Family ( Alpha Delta Pi) house to make cookies and sing songs. My favorite songs are “Zombies”, “True Colors”, and “In Christ Alone.” I sang “True Colors” for the Talent Show hour a couple of years ago.
Is there anything that has provided you comfort during this time with your treatment?
Lori: Her attitude. She has always been ready to get going. We get to the clinic and she gets set up and ready to go. She never complains, even during her hardest treatments where she would throw up. She would just tell me she feels so much better, to comfort me. She never cries. We are surrounded by friends and family that would bring and leave us gifts. We have been so connected with people, DanceBlue and Alpha Delta Pi (Adopt-a-Family), that it has helped us tremendously. They bring her presents and it just lights this little girl up that people care so much for her and for us. People would just stop by unannounced. That has helped and it has been encouraging for our family.
What would you all like for the University of Kentucky campus to know about your family and what you all have experienced?
Lori: When you hear the worst news, you have to constantly remind yourself this is where God put you for a reason.
It’s no longer a hospital, it’s no longer the oncology department, but it’s “lets go to the clinic to see our family.”
When Amaya walks in and sees Dr. Badgett, she runs up to him and hugs him. The nurses became family and it’s another home. We feel comfortable and at ease. It isn’t just getting treatment, it’s no longer a scary journey anymore. It’s a journey with family, again that you know DanceBlue, the clinic, and UK have your back.