Savannah is a spirited fourteen-year-old that was just starting to enjoy the freedoms that summer had to offer: sleeping in, unlimited time with friends, late nights in the cul de sac with neighborhood friends when she noticed a purple rash forming on her arms and legs. She was taken in for what were thought to be routine labs to check for a potential cause of the rash and bruising. A call a few hours later changed the course of her summer and her life.
Savannah and her family were instructed to present to the emergency room immediately, as her labs were so acutely abnormal. Savannah was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia on June 17th. Further cytogenetics testing determined that she had a high-risk genetic mutation that would require a bone marrow transplant, along with long term oral chemotherapy post-acute treatment, to prevent relapse.
Savannah underwent two rounds of aggressive chemotherapy throughout the summer at Blank Children’s Hospital with each round requiring month long hospital stays. She underwent a bone marrow transplant on September 22nd at the University of Minnesota Children’s Hospital and is required to be in Minneapolis for continued care and monitoring through the end of the year. Savannah and her mom enjoy weekend visits from her siblings and Dad but the separation from family and friends is a very challenging part of this journey. Savannah has a brother, Parker age 12 and little sister, Tinley age 10. Savannah enjoys cheerleading both Allstar and sideline, track, golf and above all spending time with her family and friends. Savannah’s energy and bright spirit make her a joy to be around. She has been so inspiring as she’s taken on the challenges she’s faced living with leukemia, and truly makes the best of each experience and challenge.
When the transplant team determines that it is safe for Savannah to return to Iowa she will be required to remain in isolation for several months as her immune system matures and the process of re-vaccination begins. Savannah’s room will be not only be an area of personal space that she has not had for much of the year with lengthy hospital stays but just thinking of it. This opportunity adds another layer of complete excitement and joy at the thought of returning home for Savannah. also a place for her to complete online school work and re-gain her independence. Savannah has been dreaming of rearranging her room since the early stages of diagnoses as she longed to be home in her own space. Savannah’s Aunt Heather nominated her for ‘My Happy Place’ as she knew what it would mean to Savannah to have a space of her own to relax and get re-acquainted with life outside of the hospital and back home with her family. Ever since hearing from the team at ‘My Happy Place’ that Savannah was chosen for a room renovation, her face lights up with delight