On June 16, 2022, 9-year-old Kieran Jimenez was diagnosed with stage 2 Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (ALCL), a rare form of of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. She has been seen by multiple doctors. First, for a very swollen lymph node, then for an abscess on her cheek.
“Her lymph node was swollen, like back in March, and we went to several hospitals. And they kind of just dismissed it as just like a swollen lymph node,” said Diana Melendez, Kieran's mother.
Kieran is a 3rd grader at Regan Elementary School, but hasn't been able to go back to class since her diagnosis. She says she misses seeing her friends and teacher the most. “I miss my friends, I miss my teacher,” Kieran said.
Although she doesn’t get to see her classmates or teacher every day, it hasn’t stopped them from talking to one another. “Her classmates, they have a notebook going back and forth. So she writes to them. And then the teacher and the class write letters to her and you know, she really likes that communication because like she's still a part of school even though she's at home,” Melendez explained.
Her parents take her to her chemotherapy treatments each month at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego. “Her treatments consist of five days of chemo, very strong chemo, several doses and then one day of hydration. And then if her numbers look good, she's discharged home,” Melendez explained.
Her parents tell me it’s been difficult- taking turns bringing her to treatments, juggling work and taking care of her brother, who has cerebral palsy. "It's hard. It's just trying to figure out between both of us working, taking time off," Melendez said, "And then our son, you know, he also has a disability so it's just dealing with his doctors, his therapies.”
They say they’re taking it day by day and hope their little girl will soon be cancer-free. "It's just waiting and praying that you know, the chemo works and then she can go into remission and try to get some kind of normal."