Meet the 2021 Boy & Girl of the Year
Meet the 2021 Boy & Girl of the Year
Each year the Washington, DC Man & Woman of the Year (MWOY) campaign raises money in honor of two local blood cancer patients, the Boy and Girl of the Year!
They are chosen for their strength and winning attitudes. The Boy & Girl of the Year become spokespersons for the thousands of patients helped by LLS’s patient services and research grants. These inspiring families have pledged to help the candidates and campaign in a variety of ways, most importantly speaking at and attending events and motivating the candidates.
We are excited to introduce our 2021 Boy & Girl of the Year, Karter and Ella!
Karter, Age 5
Diagnosis: Acute Myeloid Leukemia - MLL Rearrangement
Karter was born on December 7, 2015. Shortly after his first birthday, after battling chronic ear infections and high fevers, they discovered Karter needed Ear Tubes. He had an outpatient procedure completed the Tuesday before Easter Sunday. Just two days after his procedure, Karter spiked another high fever and began having some unusual bruising all over his body. Within an hour of being at the Emergency room, Karter was flown via helicopter to Children's National medical center in Washington DC to later be diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia- MLL rearrangement at just 16 months old.
Karter’s chemotherapy regimen encompassed five rounds with intrathecal chemotherapy. During Karter’s first round of therapy, he was intubated and on a ventilator. 98% of Karter’s blood volume was consumed with cancer cells. His white blood count was so high, when he received his first dose of chemo, his organs shut down as the cancer cells died and caused toxicity in his body. He remained in the pediatric intensive care unit for a little over 3 weeks prior to being discharged to the oncology floor of Children’s.
Karter officially completed all five of his chemotherapy rounds in late October 2017. Karter remains in remission and is officially 3 years out of active treatment and isn’t letting his epilepsy diagnosis stop him from being the active little boy he was destined to be. Cancer may have turned our life upside down, but it has taught us to cherish every day we are given.
Ella, Age 9
Diagnosis: Acute Myeloid Leukemia
Ella was 6 years old when she was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid leukemia (AML). After about a week or so of being really congested, what her family thought to be allergies turned out to be petechial. They found her tonsils extremely red and swollen, swollen gums, and decided to draw blood to check for mono. She went in that night, May 9, 2018 and there she stayed for 135 nights while receiving 4 rounds of extremely harsh chemo. Ella got a double port placed in her chest immediately. She rang the bell signaling end of treatment on October 20, 2018, and truly believed she was done.
On August 30, 2019, 2 weeks shy of her end of treatment date, Ella had relapsed. She had no other signs of illness except her platelets had been dropping over the summer. Turns out Ella was part of the 20-30% of kids with her mutation that needed a transplant. She did another round of chemo at Inova to get her back into “remission” then we transferred to Johns Hopkins for a bone marrow transplant.
Her big brother Noah was a perfect match for her and was her donor. She got 6 days of harsh chemo that obliterated her immune system to prepare for her brother’s cells. On November 12, 2019, she received her brother’s life saving cells. She handled transplant pretty well without any major complications. She did have a blood infection, C-diff, and suffered an anaphylactic reaction to platelets one night but other than that she sailed along smoothly. She engrafted quickly and her counts have been great since leaving the hospital. Ella has continued to do well this year and her counts have remained good. She just celebrated being 1 year cancer free!