Blair was a sophomore at Hopkins High School. She loved to read, swim, talk politics (she hoped to be the 1st woman president) hang out with friends and she loved her dog Dakota. Blair had a huge heart and was loved by many especially her Aunts, Uncles and cousins. During her journey she always had a smile on her face even on those tough days, she was a hero to many and taught us all a lot about life and how we should not “sweat the small stuff.”
Blair was a typical teenager at the age of 14. Starting in February 2005 she starting experiencing clumsiness, complaining of being very tired, her glands were swollen and she didn’t have much of an appetite. After months of taking her to see Dr. Sean Anderson, Park Nicollet, to urgent care and an Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist we were no further – we were told that she probably had mono. Finally on the morning of June 22, 2005 Tom took Blair to the emergency room at Methodist Hospital and we were told she had Acute Biphenotypic Leukemia. This started a 21 month journey of hell for Blair. You would not have known it when you saw her as she was and is our hero through all of this!
After spending three months at Children’s Hospital with Dr. Joanna Perkins receiving many rounds of chemo we next had to move onto the University of MN Amplatz Children’s Hospital (Dr. Michael Verneris for a Bone Marrow Transplant. The immediate family was tested to see if they were a match and there were none. So the next step was to check with the National Bone Marrow Registry to see if there would be a good match for her. We were told by her doctors that we needed to have a perfect match (6 on 6) in order for this to work for Blair. We were so blessed as they found a match for Blair – it was from a little girl who when born her parents had her umbilical cord donated to the registry. We have no idea who she is but we are so very thankful that she was a donor as this Bone Marrow Transplant helped Blair live longer.
Blair was to be reborn on 9/30/2005 (this is what they call a bone marrow transplant) as basically they take all of the bad marrow and blood from her and put in new which again was received from this little girl.
The next 18 months were indeed a rollercoaster of ups and downs. Blair was in the hospital with an infection and she continued to get worse instead of better and after pushing the doctors Blair was admitted to the PICU with Influenza A and spent from 12/24/2006 through the month of January 2007. We were told afterwards that it was a miracle that Blair survived that goes to show you what a fighter she was. She spent the next 3 months in the hospital getting her strength back and learning how to walk and talk again. She was excited to be out of the hospital for her 16th birthday that she was able to celebrate with lots of family and friends.
With the help of a wonderful tutor Paula Len she was able to stay up with her schooling. Blair was excited for her sophomore year at Hopkins High School, she went to Homecoming and we were so thankful that she had that experience. She was able to go to school on and off during the first semester with some visits to the hospital with more issues. The first week of February, 2007 she had a pretty bad cough that didn’t go away. She was put through several tests on 2/6/2007 and we were told the Leukemia was back and she had RSV. Back into the hospital we went which started more chemo and treatments for RSV, she beat the cancer again and now the focus was on the RSV.
Unfortunately Blair earned her pink and orange angel wings on 3/25/2007 due to complications of RSV – she was cancer free but the lung issues that she had continuously is what wore her down. Blair told us three days before she passed that she couldn’t fight it anymore and fight she did!
Thank you to Dr. Sean Anderson, Dr. Joanna Perkins, Dr. Michael Verneris and the many other doctors, nurses and caregivers that helped Blair throughout her journey!
So this started our destiny of Blair’s Tree of Hope – a vision of one young lady who wanted to provide essentials to the families who were spending lots of days and months in the hospital!