In 2009, while pregnant with her 2nd child, Jamilla was diagnosed with “ALL”, a form of leukemia. The baby was listed as “terminal” & Jamilla’s chances of survival weren’t much better. Doctors suggested aborting the baby at 17 weeks to solely focus on treatment. Instead, Jamilla decided to take a leap of faith!
With the help of her care team, Jamilla kept the baby & completed an aggressive 3 year pediatric chemotherapy regiment. This treatment plan included drugs & procedures that left her with severe damage to her nerves & spine. At one point, Jamilla even had to re-learn how to walk. There was a great deal of danger, and many scares, but Jamilla went into remission and her daughter was born at 30 weeks.
When her daughter was 4, Jamilla’s family expanded once again with the birth of her son. Although she lived with severe nerve & spinal damage from her previous treatment, life was good.
Then, when her son was 6 months old, Jamilla was diagnosed with cancer again. This time she had hormone resistant breast cancer. (Warning: It gets much worse before better!) During her double mastectomy, the acting surgeon removed a mole on her leg that was determined to be stage 3 melanoma. Breast reconstruction was put to the side for genetic testing to ensure the melanoma wouldn’t become metastatic.
Genetic results came back with devastating news:
Jamilla has an extremely rare condition (700 families afflicted world wide), called LFS, or Li-Fraumeni Syndrome, which encourages cancers to grow in her body.
After completing another regiment of invasive and harsh treatment, recovery seemed around the corner. Jamilla began reconstruction, and despite struggling with increased neuropathy pain and severe nerve issues, she remained positive & ready for the end of this battle. Unfortunately, another scare was about to come.
After completing surgery, Jamilla became short of breath with extreme fatigue. Her husband rushed her to the ER where she was diagnosed with a double pulmonary embolism. Jamilla almost died. She was treated for two weeks & released, but much of her medical journey has finally caught up to her.
Although Jamilla has been successful in her battles with cancer, she lives daily with permanent damage to her body from treatments. Damage includes: neuropathy in her lower legs and feet, spinal pain, severe balance issues, neuropathy in her hands, & cognitive issues. Jamilla can’t run with her 4 year old son or enjoy walks with her miracle 9 year old daughter. Falling is also a grave danger for her because of her need to be on blood thinners daily and lack of balance. Daily chores are now life threatening without assistance.
For those of us who know her, Jamilla is witty, funny & a true joy to be around! She’s also incredibly smart & managed to complete a Masters Degree in the middle of all this!
As Jamilla’s friends, our wish is to give her a service dog that will give her the freedom to share her laughter with others, especially with her children as they do all the daily things the rest of us take for granted.
The service pup has already been born at a kennel to a mother and father who are both active service dogs. Its parents are both health tested German Shepherds with working bloodlines. This male pup is expected to be a great worker, like his parents, and ready to give Jamilla the independence she so deserves.
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- Ruth M
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Fundraising team: Jamilla’s People (3)
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