Augusta toddler treated for liver cancer at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

AUGUSTA, Ch. (KSNW) – In July 2020, two-year-old Jessie from Augusta complained of stomach pain.

Her parents, Tanner and Annie, began taking an X-ray and ultrasound locally at a hospital in Wichita. A pediatrician told them the scans revealed different tumors in their toddler’s liver.

The family was sent to Wesley Medical Center, where they stayed for two weeks, where it was diagnosed that Jessie had hepatoblastoma and needed a liver transplant. Doctors determined that she needed treatment outside of Wichita, especially somewhere where she could receive chemotherapy and a liver transplant, if needed.

After that determination, the family went to Memphis the next day. Tanner drove more than 800 miles to meet his wife and daughter, who arrived by medical helicopter.

“As cliché as it sounds, as soon as you walk in the doors… it’s like an overwhelming feeling of, ‘Okay, this is where we need to be, we’re doing fine here,’ Tanner tells KSN.

Jessie was considered for two clinical studies in St. Jude. Within a day she had already started her first course of chemotherapy, which lasted a few weeks.

In October 2020, Jessie and Annie went to St. Louis to see if Annie could be a living donor to her daughter. While there, they received a call that a liver would be available for Jessie.

Due to generous donors, Jessie and Tanner will never see a bill for Jessie’s treatment in St. Jude.

“Not to worry about all the extras like the cost, or how you’re going to eat, or how you’re going to take care of yourself and your daughter … there just aren’t words to describe that feeling of gratitude,” Said Annie.

Jessie returns to St. Jude every three months for a checkup. Until recently she went to Ascension Via Christi – St. Francis weekly for labs. Most recently, her tumor markers all registered as normal, leaving Jessie cancer free.

The family calls her liver transplant scar her “shark bite.”

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