Girl with rare form of leukemia fights to survive
Gainesville, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - Almost written on her face, Tionna Moore, has gone through a lot in her 10 years on Earth. She lives with a rare form of leukemia.
"I want my story to be told so I can help someone else," Moore told Fox 35.
Her favorite Minions drawings and handmade paper cranes flock near her bed to keep her company in this UF Children's Hospital room she's called home for almost a year.
"I miss home. I miss school," She told Fox 35's David Williams. "My friends and my teachers."
Diagnosed in October 2014, Moore lives with acute myeloid leukemia or AML.
Shamani Moore is Tionna's mother, "There were moments where we thought she probably wasn't going to make it."
Only 500-600 cases of AML are diagnosed in the U.S. yearly, said Tionna's doctors.
Doctors also discovered an underlying, very rare, Mylodysplastic syndrome, that is a defect in bone marrow stem cells, usually found in adults.
Doctors say that diagnosis probably pushed her into cancer.
Dr. Lamis Eldjerou is one of Tionna's doctors and is the Director of the Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant Program at UF Health's Children's Hospital.
He said, "Over the past, maybe decade, this is the first case that we've encountered here at UF Health Shands."
Tionna's mom said other doctors originally thought she had a stomach virus, but she kept persisting. She says doctors discovered the cancer in Tionna's blood.
Tionna's mother, Shamani, said, "Watch your children, learn your children. Make sure that you pay attention to signs. It can be a bruise, it can be a stomach ache, it can be anything."
Tionna survived two bone marrow transplants, the first didn't work. Her sister's stem cells matched the second one.
Tedrick Moore, Tionna's father, said, "My faith kicked in. I'm like 'Wow, I've got to trust God.'"
"I look at her everyday and I know that there's a God," Her mother added.
Tionna's parents are thankful for UF Health, whose doctors are working on research to help other children.
Dr. Bill Slayton is another one of Tionna's doctors. He is Division Chief of Pediatric Oncology at UF Health.
He said, "About four out of 10 children will die from their leukemia. So, we and a lot of other centers around the country are involved in clinical trials to try to improve the outcomes."
Tionna's outcome is looking brighter. She could go home in a few weeks, and she is so excited.
She wants to help others kids, too. She has learned something in the hospital that she wants you to remember.
"Even though you're scared, it's going to be OK," She said.
Tionna's parents tell Fox 35 that she is starting a foundation called Tionna's Treasures.
It's to help other families and children living with cancer, and give other children who can't always go outside, things to do in their hospital rooms.
Tionna wants others kids living with cancer to know they're not forgotten about.
Tionna's mother says a Facebook page is set up: https://www.facebook.com/TionnaMooreswalk?fref=ts
Tionna's mother also says a website is set up for help with Tionna's medical bills: https://www.youcaring.com/tionna-moore-363152