JayLee Finds A Lifelong Companion


JayLee was diagnosed with Leukemia on April 21, 2011, just one month shy of her 5th birthday.

After going through several different avenues to try and figure out what was causing her many urinary tract infections, swollen lymph nodes, easy bruising and the severe pain in her joints, doctors suggested she receive a bone marrow biopsy to make sure it wasn’t Leukemia.

“JayLee, her brother Bryce, her sister KayDee and I went expecting to do the biopsy and go home,” explained JayLee’s mom, Danyel. “When she came out of the biopsy, her body went crazy. It wouldn’t stop bleeding and she spiked a fever, so they wouldn’t let us leave. An hour later, a doctor, social worker and child life specialist came into the room and spoke the words I’ll never forget: it was Leukemia.”

JayLee was admitted to Blank’s Children’s Hospital and began treatment the following morning.

Shortly after, she received her very own Chemo Duck to accompany her throughout her cancer journey.

“She loved Chemo Duck the second she got him. She immediately put on the bandana so she could match him,” said Danyel. “She carried him around all day talking to him and telling him they were going to do this together. I remember her telling him that it hurts sometimes but she would help him feel better.”

Throughout the entire process, JayLee loved that Chemo Duck could go through all the procedures with her and most of the time before her so she could see what it would be like.

JayLee recently celebrated the fact that she is five years off treatment! She took her last chemo pills on June 24, 2013. And even though she is in the clear, her friendship with Chemo Duck continues to be as strong as ever.

“She is 12 years old now and still sleeps with Chemo Duck every night,” said Danyel. “She still takes him to sleepovers and camp, too. I love the fact that she had a friend to go through that with her.”

While JayLee loves to snuggle with her Chemo Duck, she also enjoys staying active and can oftentimes be found playing basketball, swimming or playing with crafts.

When asked what advice she would give to other parents who are dealing with childhood cancer, JayLee’s mom Danyel shared,

“There will be good days and bad days (honestly more bad than good), but enjoy every moment you have. Treatment can be rough but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

I found that the biggest help we found was with friends and family. I wanted to do it all on my own even though so many people offered to help. Even though it is your child, it takes a strong support system to help you get through it all.

And make sure to make time for all of your family, spouse and other children, if you have them. Everything thinks your cancer child needs the most attention, but honestly your other children and spouse are just as scared and probably feel even lonelier.”

Thank you, Danyel and JayLee, for sharing your story. We are so happy to hear that Chemo Duck is now a permanent fixture in your family!

Meet Ken and his new fuzzy friend!

Meet Ken and his new fuzzy friend!

It gives us great pleasure to introduce you guys to our new friend, Ken. He is an adorable 2-year-old boy who was recently diagnosed with ALL.

According to his mom, his new diagnosis was “a life-changing event for us. We know nothing about this disease and would never have 

thought this would happen to our Ken.”

“We just received this duck and this made me smile very bright it’s amazing and will definitely help us along our journey.”

Be sure to give Ken a big, warm, virtual hug through our Facebook!

Meet Madeline and her fluffy friend, Scooter

In just three months, Madeline will be three years old. And just one month ago, only a few days after Christmas, she was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.

No family can ever truly prepare for hearing that their child has cancer. All they can do is look ahead to what’s next and what can be done to help. For Madeline and her family, that meant starting cancer treatment at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City.

Shortly after beginning treatment, one of the nurses at the hospital introduced Madeline to a cuddly companion who would quickly become a member of the family.

He was a Chemo Duck, given to Madeline to help explain the cancer treatment process in a way that would make sense to an almost-three-year-old child. Madeline took to him immediately and pretty soon he had a name: Scooter.

Madeline has enjoyed getting to spend time with Scooter all day and all night. And she can relate so well to his port and tube because she has a port and tube, too!

More than just the duck itself, Madeline has enjoyed getting stamps in her Chemo Duck passport every time she makes a trip to the clinic.

When she’s not receiving treatment or cuddling with Scooter, Madeline enjoys painting her nails with her mom, playing with her Peppa Pig people and her dollhouse, or watching Sheriff Callie.

“Chemo Duck has made this process a little easier for her to understand,” explained Madeline’s mom, Emily. “She loves him!”

We think it’s safe to say that Scooter is a welcomed addition to the family — and he will proudly provide comfort to Madeline and her family for as long as he is needed.