‘All really need each other’: Family of 1-year-old Ohio girl with blood cancer waiting for bone marrow donor


STRONGSVILLE, Ohio (WJW) — Paisley Palmer, 1, dances every morning when she wakes up.

She loves to make people laugh, adores animals and is an expert at blowing kisses.

Her parents say she’s an inspiration and a bright light in their lives during a dark time; the active and happy little girl was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia in July.

It all started in March, when her mom, Jessica, noticed what looked like a bruise on the right side of her face. She attributed it to the normal bumps toddlers get when they’re active and learning how to walk.

But the mark didn’t go away.

“It started changing in appearance,” said Jessica. “It started getting larger, you could actually feel it on the side of her face.”

She and her husband, Tim, took Paisley to her pediatrician. After more doctors, ultrasounds and a biopsy, she was diagnosed with AML. Genetic testing also indicated it is a high-risk form of cancer.

“Immense shock to us, many emotions during that time,” said Jessica. “She has never once appeared sickly. That’s really been a bit of a blessing for us. She’s always been so energetic, happy, running around, dancing, making as many friends as she can.”

Paisley started treatment at UH Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital on Aug. 17. She’s currently on round 2 of what will be four to five rounds of chemotherapy.

After that, because she is high-risk, Paisley will then have to undergo bone marrow transplants. Jessica and Tim were shocked to learn they couldn’t be donors. They turned to Be the Match registry for help.

Be The Match, which is operated by the National Marrow Donor Program, plays a role in every bone marrow cell transplant in the United States by matching donors in its registry to patients who need the transplants.

The transplants can be cures for patients like Paisley, who have blood cancers or other diseases or disorders.

“It’s really wild to me that my husband and I are only a 50 percent match to our little girl,” Jessica said. “There is a DNA match out there that is better than me and her dad. So we are relying on these good-hearted donors out there that put themselves on the registry and sign up to save a life.”

Jessica said Paisley’s sample is currently being run through the registry for a match. Jessica says they are hoping for a match to come through as early as the end of this year.

They’re asking anyone who hears Paisley’s story to register to see if they are a match to her or anyone going through blood cancer and other conditions.

“It’s helping me to see a positive purpose coming out of this devastating news,” said Jessica, who has shared their journey to help educate others even more on Instagram. “This cancer shows we all really need each other.”

Right now, Jessica said Paisley is doing “awesome” with her treatments and continues to be a bright light for her mom and dad, nurses and doctors.

“I am kind of feeding off of her own positivity, and I’m happy to be able to share this awareness,” said Jessica. “She’s giving me the space to do that because she’s being so strong herself.”

Anyone between the ages of 18 and 40 can join the Be The Match registry by texting SavePaisley to 61474 or by clicking here.

Then, a cheek swab kit will be mailed to their home.

Be The Match covers the cost of transplants, including flights, hotels and meals. It also covers recipient costs that aren’t covered by insurance.

To find out more about registering or donating, click here.

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