NOTHING STOPS JAELYNN
Seven-year-old Jaelynn Grullon wanted to raise money for The Tommy Fund. So she decided to ask family and friends to sponsor her in The Tommy Fund Family Day Kids Fun Run.
But unlike every other kid in the Fun Run, Jaelynn ran on a prosthetic leg, due to her own battle with osteosarcoma.
Jaelynn had just turned 6 in May 2013, and for her birthday wanted a scooter. She twisted her ankle riding the scooter and after a week, she was still hobbling. So her grandmother and guardian, Sandra Garcia, called the doctor.
An X-ray revealed that Jaelynn had osteosarcoma (bone cancer) and because the cancer was in the growth plate, she would need a below-the-knee amputation, Garcia said.
The family met Dr. Joe McNamara, a Yale pediatric hematologist/oncologist, who placed a port into Jaelynn’s chest to deliver chemotherapy.
“In September of 2013 she was scheduled to have her amputation and we had to get her ready,” Garcia recalled. “I wanted to be the one to tell her. So I explained that she got a boo-boo on her leg and because her boo-boo carries germs, they needed to remove part of her leg.”
Jaelynn seemed to accept this explanation.
“She shocked me!” Garcia said. “She was OK and she understood. She knew she had to get this done.”
Jaelynn, who was homeschooled for a year during her treatment, also seemed to tolerate chemo well and even danced around while receiving her infusion.
Now a second-grader at Quinnipiac Elementary School in New Haven, she will tell her whole story to kids who ask on the playground, starting with, “do you have five minutes?”
“She’s doing great,” Garcia said. “Nothing stops her. She’s a happy kid. She’s well-rounded, she’s getting along with her siblings, and goes to an after-school program at the Boys and Girls Club where she has a lot of friends.”