Courtesy photo Shannon Ledbetter and Jordan
Devastated. Helpless. He’s going to die.
I felt all those things on November 7, 2003, the moment I heard Jordan had rhabdomyosarcoma, a soft-tissue cancer most common in children from birth to 10 years of age.
I’d never heard of this kind of cancer. I was in Santa Fe at a seminar when Dr. Winters called with the news because my mother, who had taken Jordan to the doctor, was too upset to tell me. We rushed directly to UNM in Albuquerque, where my precious 4-year-old started the chemotherapy and radiation treatments that would go on for almost two years.
After an initial hospital stay of 47 days, we came home just before Christmas. I was trained to give Jordan a shot every day to boost his white cell count.
Sharon, a wonderful home healthcare nurse, came by every morning to take Jordan’s blood sample. If his platelets were low, we dropped everything and drove to Albuquerque for treatment, as many as four times a week.
Jordan endured 74 blood transfusions and 96 platelet transfusions during that time. I am forever grateful to Sheriff Roger Hatcher and Undersheriff Doug Bowman for encouraging county employees to donate vacation days so I could keep my job, and to everyone who gave their time to help us out.
My parents were a godsend. We couldn’t have made it without them.
The American Cancer Society provided food certificates, lodging, support groups, diet and education information and so much more. Jordan looks forward to ACS Camp Enchantment every summer, a week-long camping experience for kids in cancer treatment or in remission.
Daughter Alleigh attends Sibling Retreat and can’t wait to become counselor-in-training at age 17.
Our family supports American Cancer Society Relay For Life. We volunteer because we want to find a cure for cancer.
Shannon Ledbetter is Jordan’s mother.