By HOPE MONTGOMERY
Taelyn Wilkins was born on June 23, 2012, and by Aug. 24 of that very year, she was diagnosed with Wilms’ tumor, a type of kidney cancer in children.
It all started when Taelyn’s mother, Marley Wilkins, noticed a hard knot on the right side of her daughter’s stomach, poking out from underneath her ribs.
“Something just didn’t seem right,” said Ms. Wilkins.
So when Taelyn was taken for a checkup just after she turned 2 months old, a nurse took a look at the knot and shortly afterward she was being checked into St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis.
“They are amazing,” said Ms. Wilkins at the first mention of St. Jude. On Aug. 27, 2012, three days after Taelyn’s admittance into the hospital, she had the tumor and her right kidney removed.
To avoid needle pain, Taelyn had a single lumen Hickman line, a catheter used for the administration of chemotherapy and the withdrawal of blood, inserted soon after her arrival at St. Jude, and for the next seven months, Taelyn received chemotherapy through this catheter. By the third month, she was receiving two different kinds of chemo every Thursday.
Unfortunately, Ms. Wilkins was fired from her job with the absences caused by her daughter’s constant doctor and hospital visits.
But all was not lost, thanks to help from the Obion County Cancer Agency and Hometown Walk of Hope.
Ms. Wilkins receives a check each month to help with her expenses.
“That’s something I never knew,” said Ms. Wilkins. “All the money from the Walk of Hope goes to local families in our area like Taelyn and me. Walk of Hope has helped us tremendously.”
On top of that, Taelyn is in remission, and Ms. Wilkins couldn’t be more relieved.
Earlier this year, Ms. Wilkins joined Team Carter’s Walk of Hope team alongside her cousin, Pam Wright, who got her involved. Through Walk of Hope, Ms. Wilkins has helped with the Walk of Hope pageant, a bake sale and selling T-shirts and Coke™ products.
Last year, Ms. Wilkins walked for seven hours at the Walk of Hope event, pregnant and unaware that the little girl she would give birth to would benefit from the same cause she was supporting. In June, Ms. Wilkins says she plans to do the same thing, only this year, Taelyn will be there, healthy and on the sidelines cheering her mother on.
The Hometown Walk of Hope event will be staged June 1 at the Union City High School football field. Activities will begin at 4 p.m. and continue through midnight.
Editor’s note: Hope Montgomery is a sophomore at Hendrix College in Conway, Ark. She is the daughter of Bob and Amy Montgomery of Union City.
Published in The Messenger 5.21.13