After three weeks, Ayla and Angela received news no family wants to hear. It wasn’t acid reflux causing Ayla so much pain. It was diffuse large B cell lymphoma.
Throughout her chemotherapy treatments, Ayla required more than 20 blood transfusions.
“I had them all the time,” she said. “I would feel really down and really sick, and I’d have a transfusion and it would just make me feel so much better. I felt like I could actually breathe and function.”
Ayla and her mom spent much of their time in the Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte. When they were able to go home to Hickory, they would usually end up right back in the hospital.
“When you’re a cancer patient, just little stuff like a cold or a fever will send you right back to the hospital,” Ayla said. “I used to have to ride the ambulance right back down to the hospital the day after I came back up here.”
But after three months of treatment, Ayla was declared cancer free.
“It was a difficult experience, but it taught me a lot,” she said. “And I’m glad that I went through it so I would be able to give motivation to other people that they could get through it.”
This February marked five years cancer free. When the blood center came to Ayla’s high school for a blood drive, she was sad she wasn’t able to donate herself and give back, but she was touched when her classmates stepped up to give.