Doctors hoped that Benji’s first month of treatment would put him into remission, but unfortunately, a second examination revealed that he still had leukemia cells in his bone marrow. This bumped Benji into the “Very High Risk” category, and into more aggressive treatment. Another phase of medicines was added to his calendar and all his chemotherapy dosages were increased. Finally, on May 1, 2015, a third examination found zero detectable leukemia cells in Benji’s body. He was in remission. His treatment, which had included eleven transfusions so far, was working.
However, in September, Benji was admitted to the hospital with debilitating stomach pain. His kidneys were in acute failure, and he was suffering severe toxicity from one of his chemotherapy medicines. He looked like a burn victim and needed constant pain medication. He became withdrawn and he did not eat for three weeks. During that time, Benji would receive eight more blood and platelet transfusions.
Today, Benji is thriving in the third grade and halfway through his long treatment plan. Benji’s family and friends understand the importance of blood donation. They’ve collected nearly 100 units in his honor at blood drives throughout their community.