Boy & Girl of the Year

National Capital Area Chapter's Boy & Girl of the Year

The Boy & Girl of the Year are local children battling blood cancers who serve as motivation and inspiration to Man & Woman of the Year candidates in their competition to raise funds and earn the titles.

Girl of the Year - Susanna

Susanna 3

When Susanna returned home from her first sleepaway camp with a headache, stomach ache, and a fever, her pediatrician thought it was just a virus that would clear up on its own. But while on vacation just a couple of days later, she became more tired, listless, pale, and her fever persisted. After a visit to a local clinic in Ocean City, DE and then an ambulance ride through the night to Children's National Medical Center, on Friday, July 27, 2012 Susanna was diagnosed with pre-B acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Susanna stayed in the hospital for a month and had her post-induction bone marrow biopsy on the day she was supposed to start second grade. She made it, however, to the second day of second grade! That's the kind of girl Susanna is - determined, courageous, magical. Susanna underwent two and a half years of chemotherapy and the steroids she was prescribed caused a once energetic, happy child to move slowly and stoop over. She needed help up the few steps into her classroom and had her own cot for rests in the school nurse's office.  But Susanna went on to prove every day that she is magical - never missing a summer at camp during her treatment.

Today, Susanna is a happy, healthy, magical 11-year-old who loves animals, rides horses, and is in sixth grade!

 

 Boy of the Year - Devan

DevanLLS_Sailing trophy CropLR

When Devan was just 20 months old, his family received a  shocking diagnosis,  Devan had high-risk acute promyelocytic leukemia (APML), an uncommon form of leukemia that rarely afflicts children. Devan was initially treated at Boston Children's Hospital, but he presented serious and unexpected side effects, including one that required brain surgery. After four months in the hospital, Devan was transferred to Washington D.C., where he began a year of daily chemotherapy after which he was believed to be cured. But after a routine biopsy just two and a half years later, Devan had relapsed. Devan underwent three months of chemotherapy, including arsenic - a neurotoxin that wasn't offered to kids when he was first diagnosed. His family were told they had no choice but to put him through a bone marrow transplant and spent months searching bone marrow registries worldwide but never found a match. Devan returned to Boston for high-dose chemotherapy to prepare him for a stem cell transplant using his own marrow, which doctors concluded was his best hope. He was kept in an isolation ward because he had no immunity and lost his hair and his appetite again, but his spirit never dampened. Throughout this difficult period, Devan was an extraordinary beacon of sweet cheer and courage, making nurses laugh as he sped around the hospital ward in a ride-on trike.

Today, Devan is 11 years old - six years post-transplant, with another clean biopsy last month, and thriving.


 

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