At just a few months old, Helen Rose Book learned resilience from her brother, Kaden, who passed away from Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia at age six. Now three years old, Helen battles the same disease. The chance of one family having two children with Leukemia is very rare.
The Book family has suddenly been thrown back into the pediatric oncology world after losing a son. To offer financial support for missed work time and additional expenses to treat Helen Rose, an online fundraiser has been created.
Treating Leukemia with Chemotherapy
Helen is now considered standard-risk and is in remission, but she needs chemotherapy for two and a half years to ward off reoccurrence. It is common for cancer to come back in young children. The first six to eight months of treatment will be the most intense chemotherapy, and then she will enter the maintenance phase when it will become easier.
There’s not a strong genetic link with Leukemia, but doctors are looking at the cancer cells in Helen and Kaden to see if there is a link as siblings with Leukemia. Helen has a PAX5 gene mutation, and the doctors find that sometimes this mutation is associated with siblings who have Leukemia, while it’s also very common for kids with Leukemia in general. Now that she is free of cancer cells, they are testing to see if she has this mutation in her regular cells and if so, it could be genetic. Overall, they have to do more testing to see if the cancer is actually genetic; this testing was not available when Kaden was alive.
The Books live in a country setting in Orange County, Indiana. Kevin works as a pipefitter and Halie stays home to home school and care of their children. Helen has three siblings: Mattison, Elijah, and Corbin. Additionally, Halie is currently 18 weeks pregnant and Helen is looking forward to having a baby brother. Halie needs to travel to Cincinnati for Helen to get the treatment she needs.
Recovering from Cancer
Helen is a happy, sweet, and playful girl who loves to sing and run around the farm with her siblings. But when in the hospital, she’s bashful, lonely, and unhappy about the needles and examinations. On her first day out of the hospital, Helen ate breakfast with a smile on her face and said, “The nurses can’t find me here!” She is recovering slowly and even ran a bit recently. It’s quite an ordeal for a three year old, yet she bounces back with a great attitude.