Hannah began tossing and turning and crying out from her crib in a way her mother, Dalene, sensed wasn’t right. Hannah was still getting the last of her baby teeth so maybe that explained it, her mom thought. No, that wasn’t it. Dalene’s intuition was telling her something.
When Hannah developed night sweats and a lingering fever that wouldn’t break, her mom grew more concerned. Then, after stumbling and twisting her ankle, this normally active toddler stopped walking altogether. Her mother became truly frightened, convinced that something was seriously wrong with her little girl.
Dalene and her husband Ryan bundled Hannah into her car seat and rushed to her pediatrician. Blood tests showed suspicious cells. The doctor urged them to take their daughter to Texas Children’s Hospital right away so she could get the advanced diagnosis and expert care she needed.
Two days and many diagnostic tests later, doctors here delivered some very difficult news: Hannah had leukemia. “I could not believe what was happening,” Dalene recalled. “I remember wondering if our daughter was going to die.”
Hannah’s doctors immediately started her on a high-dose, 8-month chemotherapy regimen. It was a tough journey. Although it was difficult, Hannah learned how to walk again. She developed osteoporosis, a common side effect of the chemotherapy, but it subsided when her treatment was completed, and she did not experience any developmental or learning delays.
“Hannah did not understand this painful, scary, new world she was thrust into,” her mom said. “But we trusted the doctors to take care of her—and we learned that she has strength and passion that we did not know was possible in such a little girl.” Today, Hannah is doing great!