Selma child battles cancer

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 26, 2004

Without a bone marrow transplant, Parker Deason, who turns 3-years-old this December, may not make it to his fourth birthday.

Earlier this month the toddler was diagnosed with Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukemia (JMML), a rare childhood cancer that tends to occur in children younger than 2-years-old.

According to the National Cancer Institute, JMML is caused when the bone marrow makes too many white blood cells. The white blood cells build up in the blood and bone marrow so there is less room for healthy white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets.

Email newsletter signup

Parker’s aunt, Tammy Troha, said the toddler’s doctors at St. Jude’s Hospital in Memphis, are predicting he will be in the hospital for up to a year.

“He has to have five days of chemotherapy, then three weeks off, then another five days back on,” Troha said. “The doctors said that in possibly six weeks he will be ready for a bone marrow transplant.”

Troha said Parker’s parents noticed something was wrong when their son started getting a lot of nosebleeds and began bruising easily.

A few months after the JMML diagnosis, Parker and his family made the move from their hometown of Selma to Telford, Tenn.

Parker’s father, Mark, is a Bush Hog employee and was recently transferred to the company’s Tennessee office. His mother, Alison, is a former Selma teacher.

The couple also has another son named Reid.

“There is usually a fairly good percentage rate that a sibling will match the patient’s bone marrow type,” Troha said. “But, unfortunately, Reid did not match, so we do not have a donor right now.”

In order to find a donor that could save Parker’s life, the Troha family is holding a bone marrow and blood drive this Thursday from noon till 6 p.m. at Elkdale Baptist Church.

Though each bone marrow test costs $75 per person, the family said they are covering all the fees in an effort to find someone with a matching bone marrow type for Parker.

“We have to do everything we can to save Parker,” Troha said. “We will even accept donations to help us with the cost of the bone marrow tests.”

Parker’s grandparents are Willie and Betty Deason and Bobby and Opal Missildine.

For any information about Parker and his family, contact Tammy Troha or Kerri Henderson.