ANKENY, Iowa -- It's been a year of ups and downs for an Ankeny family as their 7th grader battled an aggressive form of cancer. Doctors diagnosed Megan Ford with a rare form of Leukemia about a year ago. Her life has changed dramatically, and she has a message for the public.
It's been quite a year for the Ford family. Dad Tom Ford says, "We went into the year with her feeling not quite right, but not really know what's going on."
Last February, doctors diagnosed Megan with a form of leukemia that's hard to treat and likely to return. She received chemotherapy at Blank Children's Hospital to get rid of the cancer, and then went to the University of Minnesota Medical Center to prevent it from coming back. Megan says, "I had a bone marrow transplant, which my little brother, he was the donor."
Brother Noah quickly recovered. Megan is now cancer free, but her immune system is wiped out, so she must avoid big crowds and school a little longer. But, the middle school student has learned plenty outside the classroom. She says, "I've just been really interested in blood since I was diagnosed."
Ford has received about 50 units of blood during her treatment. She got a tour of the LifeServe Blood Center and even learned what she calls a disappointing fact about her own blood. She says, "Before the bone marrow transplant, I was AB negative, and then my brother is AB positive. Since I have his bone marrow now, my blood type is now AB positive."
She also urges people to donate blood with posts to Megan's Mountain Facebook page. Blood is urgently needed now. It takes about an hour and each donation provides three patients important transfusions. Megan says about her transfusions, "I felt a lot better after that, more awake."
As for Megan's recovery, she has to wear leg braces because of mobility issues following the transplant, but she's more concerned about getting back to class and a possible career in the medical field. She says, "I think I want to be an anesthesiologist."
Mom Linda Ford says, “It's opened her eyes to a lot of different opportunities. She’s had some opportunities she wouldn’t have gotten had we not gone through this and exposed her to different things. So yeah, I think she's got a great future."
LifeServe Blood Center is hosting a Blood Drive at Wells Fargo Arena Saturday, January 24th between 7 a.m. and noon. No appointments are necessary. You'll get a free t-shirt and ticket to the Iowa Energy game that night. Click here for more information on that and other blood drives.