One girl paves the way
The rigor of high school can be painful enough, but when student Brianna noticed significant pain in her shoulders, hip, and legs she knew something wasn’t right.
After MRI tests, her health care providers revealed that her spinal cord had a mass, which concluded a diagnosis of Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare cancer in the bones. She had progressed to Stage 4.
More commonly found in other demographics, Brianna faced this rare cancer on top of an additional blood disorder. These metastatic diseases spread to her bones and vertebral column, and she began chemotherapy. As the first pediatric patient to go through the procedure, brave Brianna went through the process of a bone marrow harvest at Augusta University Medical Center – Her stem cells were harvested and stored in a blood bank so she would have blood for future use if she needed.
PFA supported the start of Brianna’s medical journey by working with her parent and the parent’s employer to determine eligibility for the Medicaid State Premium Assistance Program. With her new commercial coverage, Brianna had access to the timely procedures she needed.
As a pioneer patient, Brianna sparked the introduction of the Pediatric Stem Cell Harvesting program. She also helped launch the Pediatric Autologous Stem Cell Transplant program, which offers patients in the river region of the United States access to treatment that patients typically traveled out of town to receive.
Today, Briana is responding well to her treatment!