When Maelin-Kate’s parents brought her home from China in 2017, they knew she had medical needs. It was because she was scheduled for orthopedic surgery within weeks of her adoption that her Fanconi anemia came to light.
People with Fanconi anemia, a rare blood disease, do not produce healthy bone marrow – so they don’t produce healthy blood. Untreated, this genetic disease can cause leukemia. Maelin-Kate’s was caught early.
Maelin-Kate was referred to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for chemotherapy and bone marrow transplant. Quickly, her care team came to feel like family. “She knew her doctors and nurses loved her. She knew they wanted the best for her. It was a bittersweet day when we left the [transplant] floor, for both of us, because we were so close to our nurses and they were so close to us.”
Today, Maelin-Kate is doing great. A pint-sized princess with “glitter in her veins,” she is the youngest and the only girl in the family of five children. “She’s just super joyful,” says her mom. “Every day, she finds a reason why it’s the best day ever. She’ll say, ‘I see a butterfly – it’s like the best day ever.’ Or, ‘We ate spaghetti for dinner – it’s the best day ever.’ She makes everybody smile every day, because she loves everything about life.”