HAILEY PEASE was 7 years old when she was diagnosed with T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Her first round of chemotherapy, in April 2011, “didn’t work,” says her mother, Shannon Maxim. And the second round “nearly killed her.”
Hailey, who was being treated at Boston Children’s Hospital, started refusing her medicine, and then she stopped eating — a common symptom of both the cancer and its treatments. Doctors threaded a tube down her nose and into her stomach, making it possible to administer food and medicine. “The chemo had destroyed her esophagus to the point where she couldn’t eat,” says Maxim, a former certified nursing assistant. Other parts of her body started to fail: “It was like she was shutting down inside.