Singaporean Baby Diagnosed With Leukaemia Just 3 Days After Birth

Singaporean Baby Diagnosed With Leukaemia Just 3 Days After Birth

Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukemia or JMML, is a rare form of leukaemia that comprises of less than 1% of childhood cancers. Baby Ethan and his parents are reaching out to you.

This Singaporean couple was shocked to find out just 3 days after their baby’s birth, that their little boy had a rare form of leukaemia. Ethan Looi was welcomed by his parents on the 30th of July 2016, at KK Hospital, here in Singapore.

Getting word of the bad news

Unfortunately, not even a week after his birth, his parents were informed that his white blood cell count was 3 times higher than that of a normal baby.

Little Ethan was kept at KKH for 10 days before doctors were able to diagnose him with Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukemia (JMML).

What is JMML?

As with other types of leukaemia, JMML is a cancer of the blood. This type of leukaemia occurs when there is an excess of immature white blood cells (myelocytes and monocytes) being formed in the bone marrow.

These immature white blood cells eventually overcrowd and push out the regular healthy cells that belong in one’s bone marrow.

Most cases of JMML are diagnosed in infants or toddlers and the best treatment for it is blood or bone marrow transplant, as stated by The Children’s Cancer Research Fund.

How can I help?

Baby Ethan’s parents have bravely reached out on GIVE.asia in hopes of raising the necessary funds for their son’s transplant.

As many of us know, hospital bills can often leave us in a great deal of debt. Especially when it comes to the likes of treating diseases such as cancer of kidney failure.

The fees at the moment stand at SGD 250K for a bone marrow transplant, up to SGD 80K for activated natural killers, and SGD 45K for a spleen removal. That brings his entire medical bill to a whopping SGD 375,000!

His parents are updating their GIVE.asia page on a frequent basis, with updates on Baby Ethan’s condition.

Head over to the next page to learn more about Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukemia (JMML).

As mentioned, JMML is a cancer of the blood that occurs when there are too many immature white blood cells present in the bone marrow. What this does is overcrowd and push out healthy cells that belong in the bone marrow.

JMML accounts for less than 1% of childhood cancers, making it exceptionally rare. The best treatment for this type of cancer is a bone marrow transplant, also known as a stem cell transplant.

How is JMML diagnosed?

myeloblast_with_auer_rod_smear_2010-01-27

In order for doctors to diagnose JMML, tests are usually done on both the child’s blood and bone marrow.

The blood test is done in order to get a better look at the components of the blood and determine if the child’s cell count level is normal and healthy.

A bone marrow aspiration and biopsy are also done in order to check the bone marrow, bone and blood for signs of cancer.

What are the symptoms of JMML?

Currently, the only known treatment for JMML is a bone marrow transplant. This replaces the afflicted bone marrow with healthy marrow.

Patients will also need high doses of chemotherapy. Since this kills off healthy cells, it is then absolutely necessary for a transplant of healthy bone marrow once the chemotherapy is done.

The Children’s Cancer Research Fund states that 50% of patients will face a relapse of JMML. In which case, they will need a second bone marrow transplant.

Sources: GIVE.asia, The Children's Cancer Research Foundation

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Written by

Sonia Pasupathy

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