Young cancer survivor rings bell at BAMC to celebrate final treatment

SAN ANTONIO – A little girl has a big reason to celebrate after winning her two and a half year battle with cancer.

Sailor Parker, 7, recently rang the bell at the Brooke Army Medical Center’s Pediatric Hematology / Oncology Clinic, signaling her victory over acute lymphocytic leukemia, BAMC officials said.

She was surrounded by her parents and a small group of medical personnel during the celebration.

“Sailor, we are so proud of you and how well you have done with your treatment,” Lt Col (Dr.) Della Howell, Air Force pediatric haematologist / oncologist, said in a statement. “We couldn’t have asked for a better patient.”

Acute lymphocytic leukemia is defined as “a cancer of the blood and bone marrow,” according to health officials. This cancer is common in children and adolescents, BAMC officials said.

“This is the most common cancer in children and adolescents, but it occurs only 34 per million in those under the age of 20,” Howell explained in a press release. “In the past, before the advent of chemotherapy, this disease was almost always fatal. In the 1960s, the survival rate was less than 10%. Now the overall disease survival rate is about 90%. “

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Sailor’s father, Air Force Tech. Sgt. Aaron Parker, was stationed at Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo when the child first became seriously ill, according to BAMC officials.

Sailor was taken on a life flight to Dell Children’s Hospital in Austin for treatment.

“Everything changed in less than an hour,” said Parker in the press release. “Our whole world has changed in so many ways.”

Sailor completed months of treatments before transferring to BAMC. Her treatment consisted of “intravenous chemotherapy, oral chemotherapy and intrathecal chemotherapy, injected directly into the spinal fluid via lumbar punctures,” said BAMC staff.

“By the time we received her as a patient, she was generally doing pretty well and was already in remission,” Howell said in a statement. “The chemotherapy course lasts about two and a half years for girls.”

Sailor’s parents said they are overjoyed that their daughter has won her battle with cancer.

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“There have been a lot of frustrating moments, a lot of painful moments, but now that it’s all wrapped up and coming to an end, it’s like a moment when you pinch yourself,” said Parker.

‘It has been a journey. It’s pretty unreal that it actually ended, ”said Megan Parker, Sailor’s mother.

Now that her treatments are over, Sailor said she is looking forward to visiting her grandmother and maybe even going to the beach or taking Jiu-Jitsu classes.

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