Dakota Ann's Fighting Leukemia - #TinyButMighty

My wife, Shari Ann and I were blessed with our brand new baby girl, Dakota Ann, just 7 short months ago. Her birth alone was a miracle. The very first ultrasound we had, we were told Dakota did not have a heartbeat. The doctors prescribed Shari Ann medicine to terminate the pregnancy. Something just did not feel right in our hearts, we decided that she would not take the medicine. We would wait until the following Monday, then request another ultrasound and bloodwork to confirm. That Monday, Shari called and requested another series of tests be conducted, but was denied because insurance did not cover another round of tests.  The only option we were left with was a surgical operation of which would terminate the pregnancy while Shari was under Anesthesia. State law requires an ultrasound be conducted before the surgical procedure. That morning Shari Ann went in, the ultrasound was performed, and again no heartbeat. However, the ultrasound tech and Doctor noticed something that caused some hesitation, and to this day we do not know what that was. They scheduled another ultrasound to be carried out that afternoon, the morning prior to the procedure. Just one week after the initial ultrasound and only six hours after the last ultrasound, Dakota Ann has a heartbeat! God was looking out for Dakota, Shari, and I without a doubt. Our baby girl fought to make it into this world with all of the odds stacked against her. We are so blessed to have her beautiful soul, smile, and infectious laugh in our lives. She has changed our lives and the lives of those she interacts with.  Dakota is a blessing from God, to Shari and I, as well as everyone else in this world. She has given a purpose to our plan on this earth.  We are now in the hospital once again. Dakota Ann is fighting for her life this time. Dakota has been diagnosed with Acute Infantile B-ALL Leukemia.  We are at the LVHN - Reilly's Children's Hospital at Cedar Crest, in Allentown, PA. Just a few short days ago our little peanut was a normal, happy, healthy, and amazing little gal. Shari took her for her six-month checkup as all parents do.  Our Pediatrician noticed a couple of very small purple dots on her skin, of which most people and even Doctors would have ignored.  Being cautious, the Pediatrician ordered blood work. Later that evening the Pediatrician called Shari Ann, telling her to pack up Dakota and head to the ER immediately. Dakota's white blood cell and platelet counts were very low. The purple dots/marks turned out to be petechia, a symptom of low platelets and Leukemia.  The ER doctor referred us to a Hematologist/Oncologist, Dr. Daniel Zinn. Dr. Zinn met with us, conducted a thorough examination of Dakota, along with another series of blood tests. He observed her liver and spleen were enlarged, yet another symptom of Leukemia.  Shortly thereafter our worst nightmare was confirmed. Dakota has started Chemo, and she is enrolled in a long-term treatment plan. She had a central IV line surgically inserted into a large vein in her chest, in which the medicines will be administered, and the bloodwork from this point on will be drawn from for testing. She also had a Lumbar Puncture and a Bone Marrow extraction procedures. She was given her first round of chemo, intrathecally. The Oncologist has drafted a treatment plan for Dakota, which outlines her treatment for the next two to three years. We will be spending months at a time in the hospital, with small breaks in-between allowing us to bring her home to rest and recover. This will be a very long journey for everyone involved, and my wife Shari Ann will be leaving her job, allowing her to remain with Dakota full-time. We discussed it and this will be the best option available to us at this time. This is not ideal, as financially we will be losing her entire salary and income that enables us to take care of our financial obligations, not to mention the medical expenses that we will incur as a result of the diagnosis and extensive treatment. We will do whatever it takes to heal our daughter, regardless of what we must do, or how much it will cost. Dakota did not fight so hard for life from the beginning, to be taken from us so soon afterward.  Shari Ann and I have had an absolutely tremendous outpouring of support and prayers from family, friends, and strangers from all over the country. We are so grateful to everyone for their thoughts, and prayers. Many people have been asking where they can donate to Dakota Ann's Fight. As a result, we have decided to create this GoFundMe fundraiser. We are asking for prayer first and foremost. Prayer on a massive scale is the greatest blessing we can receive. We are confident that the Lord will answer our prayers and help in the healing of our little girl. No family should ever have to go through this, yet we are here and we will remain positively focused on the end game throughout these next few years, Dakota coming home with us, moving on to live a normal life as the rest of us. Unfortunately, the absolute necessary evil of Shari Ann needing to leave her job until further notice creates a financial burden and hardship for us. I will continue to work and provide to the very best of my ability, but we do not know what to expect as far as what our financial obligation will be with respect to Dakota's treatment and care. All of which will be compounded on top of the standard financial burden of our daily life and responsibilities falling solely on my salary alone. This will not be easy, and we will be required to make some serious lifestyle changes to maximize the effectiveness of our finances, getting rid of unnecessary goods/services, and the planning and implementation of a stringent financial plan and budget. Our greatest fear is that a treatment regiment or medicine will become available to Dakota that is not completely covered by insurance, leaving a portion of the cost on us. We do not want to spare any expense or have to decline a possible cure because we cannot afford it.   Please, if you would like to contribute to Dakota Ann's fight, we assure you that your donations will be used in a responsible manner, to assist with covering our financial obligations as they relate to Dakota's treatment and care, or they will be used to keep our family afloat while Shari Ann is out of work and we are relying on my salary alone to cover our mandatory expenses. The peace of mind knowing that Shari can be with Dakota on a daily basis, as her mother and live-in support system, without the overbearing concern and anxiety associated with financial stress is of great importance to us. We sincerely appreciate every prayer and every donation more than we can express. We all would like Shari to focus strictly on Dakota. Our income will be cut by almost 50%, making this a challenge, but with God, family, friends, and support, we have faith that we will overcome this obstacle regardless of what we must endure throughout the process.  Thank you all so very much for your continued support for our family as we navigate the unthinkable. We pray for the health and well-being of each and every person(s) who has and will show their support for our baby girl. Again, thank you so very much. We will keep everyone posted throughout this journey from this point, through Dakota's full recovery. We would also like to ask you to consider registering to donate bone marrow, as this can be the defining procedure that can make the difference between cured and relapse. You can do so at https://www.giftoflife.org/register The likeliness that Dakota and many other infants, children and even adults with Leukemia and other blood cancers will need a bone marrow transplant is very high. In fact, we were told to expect and plan for this. I speak for myself, and I can honestly say that I had no clue as to how difficult it can be to find matches, specifically for patients being treated that do not have immediate siblings. Thank you so very much for your consideration, generosity, and your continued prayers for our little peanut. Check out Dakota's Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/tinybutmighty11/ God Bless,             Kodi, Shari Ann, & Dakota Ann Almeida

Donations ()

  • Jenelle Rossi 
    • $40 
    • 1 mo
  • Anonymous 
    • $5 
    • 4 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $30 
    • 4 mos
  • Jo Clemmer 
    • $25 
    • 5 mos
  • Kimi Brown 
    • $50 
    • 5 mos
See all

Organizer

Kodi Almeida 
Organizer
Allentown, PA
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