This year the Northland is celebrating Xena Hannine! She is a 9-year-old from Cook, MN, a martial artist at Resurgence Martial Arts, and volunteers her time with her church, the First Baptist Church of Cook. Let’s support Xena and her family as they do in our community.
Xena was diagnosed on February 22, 2020 – less than a month before Covid made the world crazy. Chronic myeloid leukemia (Xena’s diagnosis) is very rare in childhood leukemia. Typically it manifests in older adults- mainly meaning they don’t have a clear understanding of how treatments will affect her in the long term and what the long-term success rate of her treatment will be.
After her initial treatments in early March 2020 – she was put on an oral chemotherapy drug- she takes daily- and we do blood labs monthly, with bone marrow draws quarterly. She has also done several EKG tests and endocrine system evals to determine how the drug affects her young system. Because CML is almost exclusively exhibited in older people, patients generally continue the dasatinib (chemo drug) for the remainder of their life. Xena has continued to show progress- and is extremely close to what they consider “cured.” That is to say, they cannot detect the cancer cell in her bloodwork. We anticipate that she will meet these criteria at her testing in early October, praise God!
She will continue the chemotherapy drug into the summer of 2023, then they will wean her off, and we will begin to monitor weekly for any changes. If the CML indicators return, our final option is bone marrow transfusion- something that comes with a whole new set of risks. Continuing treatments with the dasatinib could be possible- but it would alter her entire life (no kids likely is only one, other possibilities they don’t even know).
We are blessed to have sufficient insurance, which covers the majority of the cost – but lab and doctor visits monthly and hospital visits quarterly take their toll – we have a grant plus the insurance that covers most of the medications she takes – we still pay —$847 twice a year- when our grant funds run out. She is on a restricted diet- which makes shopping cost some more -, but I refuse to over-restrict her into losing her childhood- like birthdays, ice cream, picnics, and s’more.
Xena -all things considered- is healthy, happy, and active. She tires more quickly than she did. I refuse to make whatever we are granted about getting more – God’s grace will prevail- and she will live a life as full as she can until He calls her home- I pray like no from now. She is a beautiful, strong girl- with a courageous heart who loves creating art in various medians. She touches everyone patient enough to know her – she is kind and has a heart for the lost and mistreated. She has been challenging from the beginning- but every moment has been worth it.