Dear Jack

McKenzie C

Active LifeList Participant

My name is McKenzie and I’m 19 years old. I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic B-Cell Leukemia on October 8th, 2020. I was fresh into college at the University of North Dakota and had to leave suddenly because of how horrible I felt. I went to the doctor, and they dropped the news that over 90% of my cells were cancerous. I started treatment immediately. 

A few weeks into treatment, more tests revealed I have a high-risk gene. The “Philadelphia-Like Chromosome.” This meant it would be harder for my cancer to go into remission, and if I make it into remission, it will be harder to stay that way. I continued chemo for months and after each treatment group, I had a bone marrow biopsy done to see if there was still cancer in my body. Every time I had one done, my MRD was positive. After so much treatment and multiple hospital stays, I was going to have to do the hardest part of my treatment, the transplant. 

On April 15th, 2021, my mom and I drove to Rochester, MN to go to a week of appointments at the Mayo Clinic. They tested everything in my body to make sure I was ready to go for a transplant. I then went into the hospital and began the horrible week of conditioning. That involved high-dose chemotherapy and radiation. I hadn’t dealt with anything that extreme, and it took an immense toll on my body. After that, I received my transplant and spent a month in the hospital recovering. It was lots of movie days and barely any food because my appetite was gone. After that month, I got to leave the hospital but had to stay in Rochester for 70 more days because I had to stay for 100 days post-transplant. I was hospitalized twice more because of headaches and fevers that followed my transplant.

I’m back home now but I still have weekly appointments to check my blood for anything, and I’m still recovering. I have a long way to go before my doctors can say I’m ok, and I have to continue to hope and pray that the transplant worked, as it’s too soon to tell. I have to live at home right now instead of at my own apartment because that’s what my doctors want. I love to cook and bake. My brother loves to play games and he’s my best friend. I hope we all recover from this journey that’s far from over.


McKenzie’s LifeList:

  1. Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer
  2. SecretLab Gaming Chair
  3. Samsung 50″ TV
  4. Ugg Mocassins

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