Boy & Girl of the Year

Oregon & SW Washington's Boy & Girl of the Year

The Boy & Girl of the Year are local hero's battling blood cancers who serve as motivation and inspiration to Man & Woman of the Year candidates in their campaign to raise funds and broaden awareness for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. 

Our 2013 Boy and Girl of the Year are:

 

Boy of the Year

Cole Hexum
Cole Hexum

Cole was diagnosed with Stage 4 Burkitt's Leukemia on September 13th, 2012 at the age of 7.  He celebrated his 8th birthday on September 22nd with a short visit home from the hospital.  Burkitt's leukemia is a rare, fast growing type of leukemia (blood cancer) in which too many white blood cells called B lymphocytes form in the blood and bone marrow, or it may start in the lymph nodes as Burkitt lymphoma and then spread to the blood and bone marrow, or it may start in the blood and bone marrow without involvement on the lymph nodes.  Both Burkitt leukemia and Burkitt lymphoma have been linked to infection with the Epstein-Barr virus.  The major difference between the two is the percentage of the bone marrow that is affected.  Burkitt's leukemia has more than 25% bone marrow affected, and in Cole's case he had 90%.

There's never a moment he's not playing a sport.  Cole LOVES soccer!  He's been playing since he could walk and has played on a team since he was 3 years old.  Along with soccer, he very much enjoys playing flag football and basketball.  Cole enjoys swimming, riding his bike, playing video games, playing with friends, wrestling with his two brothers and being challenged with math problems.   Cole is a very analytical and compassionate boy that always puts others before himself.


Girl of the Year

Stella Monteverde-Cakebread
Stella Monteverde-Cakebread

Stella was diagnosed with a rare form of blood cancer called acute myeloid leukemia in 2010 when she was just 8 years old.  Before her condition was identified, Stella suffered from headaches, body aches and fevers.   Her family tried every remedy they could think of, from ibuprofen, to ice packs, to yoga.  Eventually, on February 1, 2010, blood tests revealed that Stella had leukemia, a cancer of the blood affecting the white blood cells.  Her family was devastated by the news.

The outlook was bleak.  Even with a bone marrow transplant, she was given only a grim 30% chance of survival.  Doctors forecast only a 2% chance of finding a matching donor because none of her family members were a match, and Stella's condition was complicated by a genetic mutation that caused her cancerous cells to reproduce faster than her healthy cells.

Fortunately, a miracle happened.  Stella found her match!  A 27 year-old from Washington D.C. named Travis came forward through the "Be the Match" program.  Science is so amazing.  Stalla now has a new DNA because of the help from a stranger.  With help from Travis, a whole food diet, science, and a whole lot of love, SHE DID IT!!   Rock Star Stella is now 12 years old and thriving in 7th grade!

 

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