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Kennan: following in the footsteps of St. Jude family

Kennan's St. Jude journey
Posted at 4:00 AM, May 25, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-25 10:18:47-04
St. Jude Deadline

At 15, Kennan was your typical teenager and then one day things started to change.

She started to experience headaches, fatigue--all bad enough to raise concerns.

Her parents took her to the doctor.

"I was in class, and I felt like I couldn't breathe, so I went to the hospital to have a chest Xray and they saw a mass of cells on my chest," Kennan said. "From there they went and did blood work; that's where they found the leukemia."

Kennan's St. Jude journey

"I never had a bad experience at St. Jude, everyone was so nice and so caring."

Kennan was placed into an ambulance and rushed to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.

"As soon as I got there, they immediately started treatment," Kennan said. "The treatment plan is about two and half years of weekly chemo's. I went along that path and about a year and half in I relapsed. Only about five percent of patients relapse."

That relapse caused Kennan's doctors to rethink treatment and switch to a bone marrow transplant.

Luckily, they did not have to look far for a match.

Kennan's St. Jude journey

"We ended up doing the bone marrow transplant with my little brother and everything has been fine ever since," Kennan said. "I have been cancer free for five years now."

Today, Kennan has finished her sophomore year at UL and is studying to be a nurse.

"Every person that I interacted with really has impacted me in such a positive manner," Kennan said. "I never had a bad experience at St. Jude, everyone was so nice and so caring. Especially my nurses have inspired me to go to nursing school."

"Would You like the work at St. Jude?" I asked.

"That's the ultimate goal," Kennan replied. "I've had a few friends go and work at St. Jude after they completed the nursing program, so that is definitely a goal of mine."

Kennan's St. Jude journey

From a terrified 15-year-old, unsure of where this cancer journey would take her to a nursing student with dreams of one day working at the place that saved her life...Kennan said St. Jude and those who support the Research hospital will always be her heroes.