Meet Jillian, an acute lymphoblastic leukemia survivor and is currently using her platform as Miss Connecticut 2019 to help raise awareness for childhood cancer.
Jillian was a very happy and healthy 13 year old. She earned straight A’s and enjoyed dancing six nights a week. In October 2010, Jillian was unable to stand up at the bathroom sink to get ready for school. She was having trouble breathing, bruised easily and needed a break. A few weeks later, Jillian experienced a double ear infection and was convinced that there was something else wrong. Jillian’s parents took her to the pediatrician who called the following day to have her brought into Connecticut Children’s Hospital immediately. After tests revealed acute lymphoblastic leukemia, Jillian’s treatment started almost immediately. “I was scared, worried, anxious and wondered where I went wrong,” remembered Jillian.
Treatment for Jillian’s ALL included two and a half years of chemotherapy and a port placement. She experienced some side effects but chose to look at them positively because she knew that it was helping her body fight the cancer.
During her fight, Jillian never gave up, no matter how hard the road in front of her seemed. “From the first moment of treatment, I relied heavily on clinical trials, as her age fell outside the normal age range of diagnosis. During treatments, I suffered many side effects, the worst being a stroke in July of 2011. Because of research and clinical trials that had been conducted in the past, I was able to switch and continue my treatments. Although I still suffer from lasting effects of the stroke such as a memory and learning disability, I haven’t let it stop me from graduating high school on time and enrolling in college!”
Now, Jillian is a 10 year survivor and is flourishing as a childhood cancer advocate. She is currently in her senior year of Southern Connecticut State University.
Read Jillian’s survivor story here.
Learn more about ALL.