The Christmas season of 2013 is one the Ward family will never forget. On Dec. 6th, Harry and Lisa and their children, Brianna (8) and Isabella (3) put the finishing touches on their Christmas tree. Less than 24 hours later, as the tree continued to sparkle in their living room, the Ward family’s Christmas plans would abruptly change.
On Dec. 7th, Lisa went upstairs to check on her sleeping three-year-old daughter, Bella. Right away, Lisa knew something was wrong. With a fever of 103.5, Harry and Lisa rushed Bella to the hospital. And just two days later, Bella was diagnosed with APML, acute promyelocytic leukemia, a rare form of childhood leukemia.
42 days would pass before the family would return home. This meant Christmas would be spent in the ICU. “Usually we’re celebrating as a family and the weekend that Bella was diagnosed I was supposed to go Christmas shopping.” Lisa puts it bluntly, “it didn’t work out that way.”
After 3 rounds of inpatient chemotherapy, little Bella has been through more hardships in her four years than some experience in their entire lives. But the battle isn’t simply being fought by Bella, her family and friends have suited up to join her.
Bella’s most steadfast supporter: her mother. Overnight, Lisa resigned from her job and became a full time caregiver. “When Bella was first diagnosed,” she says, “I didn’t leave her side. I think I went home for one minute to take a shower and I came right back. My nerves were so shot from being away from her that I threw up.”
Lisa and her family have been touched by the support they have received. Bella’s doctor’s shared that she may need a marrow transplant so, in the beginning of April, the family held a Be The Match Registry drive. With over 200 people showing up, Lisa recalls, “It was emotional to see everyone come out wanting to help my child.”
Unfortunately, Bella’s story is simply one among thousands. In fact, every 4 minutes, an infant, child or adult is diagnosed with a blood cancer. You can help children like Bella. You can give hope to the thousands of patients around the world in desperate need.
As the holidays approach, cancer doesn’t take time off. Little Bella is fighting for her life. Currently, her cancer is being managed by chemotherapy and medications. The family prays that she will not need a marrow transplant, but they know that Be The Match is there for them if that day arrives.
There is no better way to show your support than by making a gift to Be The Match. This holiday season; give the greatest gift of all –the gift of life!