Boy & Girl of the Year
Greater Cincinnati Girl and Boy of the Year
In early 2009, friends and family of Leah started noticing pale skin tone, bruising, nose bleeds, and constant cough. After a trip to the zoo, where a slight knock to her forehead left her with large amounts of bruising and two black eyes, her Mom took her to the pediatrician who immediately sent her to Children's Hospital Emergency Room. It was there that Leah was diagnosed with AML (acute myeloid leukemia) on January 14, 2009.
Leah's treatment was hard and proves how courageous she was for the duration of time she spent battling her cancer. She underwent four rounds of chemotherapy and numerous blood and platelet transfusions. In addition, she faced an appendectomy, a lung biopsy, an emergency central line placement and 3 trips to the ICU. Leah believes that the worst part was being away from her home and friends for a total of seven months, and the process of blood draws and finger pokes.
Leah has emerged from her battle victorious, and has been in remission for the last three years. She accounts her successes to her positive mind set and her family and friends that supported her along the way. She is currently in the eighth grade and attends Loveland Middle School where she enjoys playing fast pitch softball, soccer, hanging with friends and being a big sister to her sister Reese. Her outlook on life has changed and she is now enjoying every moment.Blake Kamstra
Blake is 8 years old and is a student at Covedale Elementary School. In January of 2009, after a chest cold that lasted 2-3 months, he was diagnosed with ALL (acute lymphoblastic leukemia). Blake began chemotherapy treatments in January 2009, and then maintenance treatments the following September. After a trace of leukemia was found in his spinal fluid in March 2010, it was determined that that ultimate goal of his treatment would be to receive a bone marrow transplant and hopefully a cure. After a 100% match from a 19 year old donor was found, Blake received a bone marrow transplant on June 17, 2010. The transplant was successful and Blake has been living cancer free since then.
Blake has been joined through his journey by his mother Kelli and his sister Maya. His favorite sport is baseball, and while at home he loves to play with legos, his Nintendo Wii and to go swimming. While his treatments were long and he faced a 50% survival rate from his bone marrow transplant, Blake radiates with a positive message. He is happy to have met so many great people and advises anyone going through hardships to stay positive and enjoy everyday.
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