Leslie, with her daughter Lakelynn and husband Michael.
By: Leslie Markham
My name is Leslie. My daughter Lakelynn is 6 years old. Her smile and wild hair say it all: my girl is full of joy and silliness. Her smile lights up the room and her energy is contagious.
When you look at my daughter, you'd never guess that she misses three days of school every month for childhood cancer treatment.
Lakelynn was just 3 years old when unexplained pain in her arm led to the diagnosis of a rare sarcoma tumor. The tumor was inoperable. Radiation was too dangerous. There was not a standard chemotherapy protocol.
There were no options for Lakelynn.
Then, an advanced genetic test revealed that Lakelynn's sarcoma carried the NTRK fusion, a rare mutation that is found in some types of both adult and childhood cancers. Within a couple days, we found ourselves in the care of Dr. Steven DuBois at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Funded by Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF), Dr. DuBois was trialing a drug that had shown promise for kids like my daughter.
Lakelynn started the clinical trial. And it worked. First, Lakelynn’s pain began to lessen, and then an MRI showed her tumor shrinking.
Today, three years after the day we were told there was no hope, we find ourselves in the exact opposite position, thanks to Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. We travel with Lakelynn from our home in North Carolina to Boston every month to check in with Dr. DuBois and receive Lakelynn’s medication—a liquid drug she takes twice a day.
Research is not only saving my daughter’s life, but it is giving her a childhood full of school and playgrounds and laughs and smiles. You’d never know she had cancer, unless I told you.
But her story isn't finished yet. Lakelynn's tumor has shrunk, but she still needs a treatment option that can make her cancer-free.
Please join our family this year and commit to supporting ALSF. We believe that research will give more kids, like Lakelynn, the cures and the childhoods they deserve. Thank you for helping my daughter—and thank you for helping other children.