Life for Paul and Kelly Gillespie’s family took a significant turn in 2015 when their son, Teige, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) at only seven years old. A cancer diagnosis for any family is hard. But, Teige’s diagnosis was further complicated by a rare genetic platelet disorder called Glanzmann’s thrombasthenia.
Over the last two years, Teige and his family have endured many hospital stays—some planned and some unexpected—to treat his chemo and platelet disorder.
There are many aspects of care that helped Teige through his cancer journey, including the Children’s Pets Assisting with Healing (PAWH) program, a pet therapy program that helps patients with development and rehabilitation and brightens their stay in the hospital. Being an avid animal lover with two cats and two dogs at home, he looked forward most to visits from dogs and rabbits. No matter how terrible he physically felt during treatments, the therapy animals always made him smile and brought him comfort.
“Every child and their family’s journey through cancer is very different and at times it can feel quite lonely,” says Kelly.
With assistance from the Cancer Kids Fund at Children’s Minnesota, Teige and his family were given a shoulder to lean on and the support they didn’t know they needed throughout his journey.
The Cancer Kids Fund has provided the Gillespie’s with financial resources like meal vouchers, parking passes, and assistance with two mortgage payments, small things that together add up to make a big difference in their life.
Now nine years old, Teige has made incredible progress, regaining much of his balance and strength. His care is now in “maintenance” which means he only has to go to the clinic once a month for IV chemotherapy. When he feels up for it, he enjoys spending time outdoors hiking and biking, and playing with his furry pal, Lucky.
Shine bright for kids in September and help families like the Gillespie’s by supporting the Cancer Kids Fund at Children’s Minnesota. Give today!