Meet Grant Recipient Adyn Pickett
EDIT: As we were writing this story, Adyn’s family told us his cancer just returned. They—and we—are beyond devastated, but hope is not lost. Please help us help the Picketts and other Southwest Florida families affected by cancer by donating to Amber’s Antibodies here. Any amount helps and is appreciated more than words can say.
It’s quite an achievement when your kindergartner reaches near-perfect class attendance. For the Pickett family, it restored hope.
Their son, Adyn Pickett, had spent more than a year before battling Pre-B ALL, a type of leukemia.
Adyn had a high amount of leukemia cells when doctors diagnosed him at 4 in December 2016, and he did not hit remission within the first 28 days of treatment, so he was considered Very High Risk (VHR) ALL.
Thankfully, Adyn hit remission during his second month of intense treatment, but he experienced many inpatient stays during his year-and-a-half of intensive care, for everything from fevers to lumbar punctures with intrathecal chemotherapy.
“Though there were some very difficult days, weeks, and months during that first year-and-a-half, Adyn did incredibly well and fought like a warrior with a smile most days,” Adyn’s mother, Erica Pickett, says. When he had only one sick day in kindergarten and started playing soccer again, Erica adds, “we were beginning to finally find our new normal.”
But last August, on Adyn’s first day of first grade, his parents, Erica and James, learned that Adyn’s leukemia had returned, this time in his spinal fluid, in addition to his bone marrow. Adyn was only 6.
Adyn would need to have total body radiation and a bone marrow transplant at John Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida, the closest children’s hospital to Southwest Florida that does the procedure. He would be away from home in the hospital for 100 days.
But first, he needed a bone marrow donor. That’s when his 5-year-old sister, Abby, came in.
Although Adyn matched with hundreds of donors in the Be The Match national marrow donor program, Abby, who was a 9/10 match, volunteered hers.
“Due to them being only 10.5 months apart, they always had a special bond,” Erica says, “but this was now a bond at an entirely new level. A bond that absolutely would never be able to be broken.”
In December 2018, Abby underwent a several-hour-long procedure to have her bone marrow extracted. Later that evening, Adyn received it. One month later, he left the hospital to continue treatment locally.
It’s been six months since Adyn’s transplant. With the recent, unexpected news that Adyn’s leukemia has returned, he has another fight ahead of him. This, sadly, shares just a snippet of the rollercoaster-like experiences families undergoing cancer may have. But the Picketts are not alone. Monetary donations help relieve the financial burden of costly cancer treatments. To help the Picketts and other Southwest Florida families fighting cancer, donate here.
Amber’s Antibodies is keeping Adyn in our thoughts and doing everything we can to help. Please, keep him in yours, too.