Who We Are
Camryn is the daughter of a Pflugerville Police Officer who was diagnosed with a rare blood cancer disorder Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS) in August 2018. She is an active 10-year-old who loves outdoors, and spending time with her dogs. Luckily, Camryn had three matching donors in the registry, only one of those responded and was able to donate. She needed a total stranger to save her life without a matching donor within her family. Camryn was admitted into the hospital underwent intense chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant in January 2019. During her two and half month stay in the hospital they met many families in the hospital who were still waiting for a matching donor, and hoping they too could stay healthy enough to make it to transplant. This motivated Camryn and her family to take a stand and help the friends they made in the hospital.
Camryn was hospitalized on August 24, 2018 after a routine doctor visit a few days earlier. Her blood work came back with severe concerns, requiring her to be hospitalized while determining her condition. Camryn was diagnosed initially with Aplastic Anemia, she received several blood and platelet transfusion and discharged a few day later. Her mom was forced to take FMLA due to the nature of Camryn’s condition and the nature of her work as a CPS Caseworker. At that time, it was unrealistic for her mom to be able to make judgment decisions while caring for Camryn giving the family circumstances. It was recommended at that time Camryn remain isolated, and removed from school attending homebound only. She was required to have multiple appointments with several doctors weekly.
After discharge and being switched to multiple doctors Camryn’s mom became concerned and requested a second opinion. Unfortunately, with limited doctors and hospitals in the area which did not specialize in her diagnosis or treatment, they were forced to travel over 150 miles one way for treatment. Little did the family know that the diagnosis would change, and require several months before doctors could start treatment. At the end of September 2018 Camryn was officially diagnosed with Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS) a rare cancerous disorder, which would lead to acute myeloid leukemia with a 28 percent survival rate. The family would travel several times weekly for appointments in the Houston area, for several months before a plan for treatment was secured. Soon after Camryn’s mom exhausted leave from work, and relied on money raised to get through until Camryn was strong enough to return to school. The family received help from their local community, via fundraisers, meal trains, and other various help to care for the home while they were gone.
Camryn was admitted into Texas Children’s Hospital Houston in early January 2019, while her siblings were cared for by their grandparents back in Austin so both parents could care for her in the hospital. She started her first round of intense chemotherapy inpatient, followed by her bone marrow transplant on January 25, 2019. Unfortunately, Camryn had severe reactions to the transplant itself, and it was required to stop and finish the following day. Camryn developed graft vs host disease (GVHD) of the skin shortly after her transplant. Although it was a mild case it was very uncomfortable for her. She officially engrafted accepting her new cells in mid-February, and was released from the hospital. Her dad returned home to care for her older siblings, while her mom and her were required to live within a thirty-minute proximity of the hospital in Houston for sixty days post-transplant.
Camryn was required to go to clinic for lab work, monitoring of medications, up to four times weekly. It was very difficult for the family to be separate during the extended periods of treatment, however they had the support of their community and Blue Family to ensure they kept close connection. They would participate in games for Camryn’s older brother via Facetime, and the family would visit as frequently as they could. In May 2019, Camryn was released to return home, and follow-up with doctors twice weekly. When the family was separated Camryn would constantly ask her mom how and when they could help others. Through close connections developed during treatment and a few friends that came together, Camryn’s Serenity Foundation was formed.
The mission of the foundation is to help hardworking families struggling through difficult times, regardless of the cause. The founders wanted to create a place where individuals could offer assistance in form of monetary donations, trade skills, or general labor skills to help those in need. Connecting families with a variety of resources and assisting those that may not have the ability to find resources such as these is the primary focus of the foundation. The mission of CSF empowers families to fight back against whatever the cause of their need, while further increaseing public awareness about rare diseases. As a signature fundraising campaign, proceeds will assist and connect families with assistance with medical, travel, utilities, mortgage, or any other needs. A portion of proceeds will assist with the National Bone Marrow Registry DKMS and further pediatric illness research.