On March 12, the St. Baldrick’s event at Missouri Southern will raise money for research into the causes of cancer in children and to raise awareness of the illnesses. St. Baldrick’s will be a fun experience.
But the human toll of cancer is all too real. This has been the case for five-year old Jasmin, the daughter of Heidi (Hockensmith) Boothe, a former mascot at Missouri Southern State University. Heidi graduated with Criminal Justice degrees from MSSU in 2004.
Although mother and daughter cannot be present due to Jasmine’s illness, they will be honored at St. Baldrick’s.
Five year old Jasmin’s experience began with intolerance to exercise, chest pain and coughing.
Her mother took her to the doctor’s office in early November of last year. The doctor found a heart murmur and ordered an EKG and a chest X-ray.
The results showed that Jasmin had a mildly enlarged heart, heart infection, and fluid in her lungs along with the newly-diagnosed heart murmur. Jasmin went to the cardiologist a few days later for EKG and an echocardiogram. The report was positive. The scans showed that Jasmin’s heart was looking better. The cardiologist ordered lab work on her blood..
Heidi and Jasmin left the office and went to lunch to celebrate the reasonably good report. But the joy was short-lived. An hour after they left the cardiologist’s office, the Cardiologist called Heidi and informed her that Jasmin had extremely high white blood cells levels and extremely low red blood cell levels. He told Heidi Jasmin had leukemia. The doctor said she needed to stop whatever she was doing and take her straight to Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City.
Jasmin was admitted into Children’s Mercy Hospital on Thursday Nov, 15, 2012 and started blood transfusions that night. The very next day she had a bone marrow biopsy, spinal tap and her first chemotherapy treatment. Jasmin also underwent surgery to implant an inline-port. Heidi and Jasmin’s father, Justin Boothe, waited all day to hear the results on the testing. That evening Jasmin’s parents were informed that Jasmin had acute lymphocytic leukemia, commonly known as ALL.
Luckily Jasmin did not have any leukemia cells in her spinal fluid. Jasmin would not need a bone marrow transplant or radiation, but she would have to undergo a two year and five month plan of chemotherapy treatment. ALL has a 90% cure rate. This means that 90% of the patients get through the treatment and experience five years without relapsing.
If Jasmin gets through those five years without relapsing, she will be considered cured. Jasmin is five, she will be 8 1/2 when the treatments are over, and 12 before she is considered cured, if she does not relapse.
The road hasn’t been easy. Since her diagnosis, Jasmin has had three additional hospital stays. The latest hospitalization lasted 24 days. Jasmin has been elevated to High Risk and now has a 70 percent cure rate. During this time of chemotherapy treatments and illness, Jasmin has also had viruses, appendicitis resulting in an appendectomy, draining of an abscess which formed at the appendectomy site, and high fevers for 18 days. Jasmin has spent Christmas, her Birthday, and Valentine’s Day in the hospital.
Jasmin and her mother have been staying optimistic. Every step of the way, they stick together and get through each phase with each other’s love and support.