Just before her second birthday, doctors diagnosed two-year-old Eleanor (also known as "Baby Lady") with T-Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (T-ALL).
Their journey began with Eleanor's mom noticing that her eyes were puffy as if she had some type of allergic reaction. When they worsened, she was taken to the doctor for a check-up and, later, to determine if she had pneumonia. But it wasn't until an x-ray showed signs of an enlarged heart that doctors decided it was much more severe. A blood test showed Eleanor was severely anemic, with an enlarged heart, and a cloud in her left lung.
On Feb. 22, 2017, the family learned that Eleanor, the youngest of four, has leukemia.
Six months after that diagnosis, the Gustafsons are still undergoing treatments and tests in an Atlanta area hospital and will be for many months to come.
Eleanor has been so brave through rounds of chemotherapy, but cancer has taken its toll on her little body. It's caused weakness in her legs, and she often stumbles or falls, so she's wearing knee pads and other protective gear to cut down on the risk of injury. Those necessities along with the financial strain of travel to and from Atlanta, car expenses, medical bills that insurance doesn't cover, lost time at work, and other associated costs have devastated this family financially while they are already dealing with the emotions of such a heartbreaking diagnosis.
Eleanor's mother, Sally Gustafson, is a freelance photographer who works in the Athens, GA area for OnlineAthens.com. She and her husband Richard have four children including Baby Eleanor.
The family is strong in their faith, their commitment to each other, and their love for their children. And, if you know Sally, you know she always has a smile on her face- even in the darkest of times.
We all hope to never, ever hear that our children or family members are sick, but it happens. We can't help Eleanor fight this battle physically, but we can lift the family up by helping to ease the financial burden. Please consider contributing.
Find Eleanor's full story on Caring Bridge: https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/babylady
You may also follow her journey on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/BraveBabyLady/