Amelia “Millie” Steinmann
Millie is 6 years old, she excels at school, and she has a huge love of all animals, but especially kittens! She loves rainbows, building Lego sets, making crafts, drawing and painting, playing Minecraft, and collecting Squishmallow stuffed animals. She is an “old soul” child, and is very quiet and timid around new faces, but is talkative and outgoing once she warms up to people! After Millie began her first grade year in August 2022, she seemed to pick up every bug and germ that came along, missing many school days due to stomach bugs, strep, and flu. It was November 1st when she came in from school complaining of terrible ear pain, which turned out to be a severely swollen lymph node below her right ear. Nothing too concerning was found at her pediatrician’s office, it improved some with meds, and we all chalked it up to reaction from Millie being sick often over those past few months. She was referred to a pediatric surgeon to check it out also, just as a precaution, and we were just advised to watch it and wait a month for a followup appointment. The surgeon also suspected it was something reactive from a virus. We began to become more concerned when Millie spent her Christmas break extremely fatigued and started having pain in her arms and legs. We thought it was likely some growing pains, but as it became more severe and one ankle became swollen and painful for no apparent reason, we revisited the pediatrician. They had already eliminated various other illnesses, but did more bloodwork in case there was an autoimmune disease going on. She also turned out to be anemic, and was referred to a hematologist, again just as a precaution. Test after test came back negative from all her various labs, until one came back indicative of an answer that was the absolute last thing we ever would have expected. We received the call from her doctor in mid January 2023 that Millie had a blood cancer, and she was to come in the next day for a bone marrow biopsy to determine what type. The results were B-cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Those first few weeks after Millie’s diagnosis were truly was a surreal, whirlwind experience. This kind of thing just can’t happen to your child and to your family, until it does. After processing it all for a bit, we reached out to our families, friends, and our church and work families for prayers, and the response was phenomenal! It feels like we have an army praying for our sweet girl as word spread and she has been placed on many local churchs’ prayer lists! We have requested that everyone pray specifically for Millie’s body to be able to handle the treatments without severe side effects and for the medicines to successfully do their job so this cancer can be eradicated from her body. We asked for prayers for her to not be scared, for her big brother and sister to not be fearful and anxious, and for her dad and I to be strong and positive for all three of our children. We have felt all of these prayers as we were able to quickly acclimate to our new normal, work and home schedules adjusted fairly seamlessly, and as her initial hospital visit and Induction phase went as perfectly as possible with very few side effects! Millie is now a little over a month into treatment, her counts are great, and the first big milestone of a clear bone marrow biopsy has been achieved! We know it’s a long road ahead and that we will very likely experience some lows along the way, but she is moving along in the right direction, and we pray that this all will be just a distant childhood memory for her in the years to come!