NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB)–A Niagara Falls toddler is just like any 2-year-old who loves to walk, talk, and play.
You might never know that a little over a year ago, she was fighting an aggressive form of cancer.
This almost 2-year-old loves to play outside. A simple, but beautiful thing…Because just months ago, Chastity was stuck inside.
At just 5-weeks-old, doctors diagnosed this brand new baby girl with aggressive leukemia in 2018.
Chastity was already very sick.
Dr. Kara Kelly says the best option was what’s known as “Car-T cell therapy,” in which some of Chastity’s white blood cells, called “T cells,” would be drawn from her to have a special cancer-attacking receptor added to them.
Then the cells are put back in the body to target and kill leukemia and control the cancer.
That, coupled with the immune reaction this therapy prompts, made it risky.
Some people have died from their body’s reaction to the treatment itself.
Kelly called it the equivalent of a “hail mary” approach.
This Sunday, Chastity turns 2-years-old, and today, she shows no signs of cancer.
Her dad says he held faith that she would pull through, and now, they look forward to making up for lost time.
Doctors say Chastity went from a less than 5% chance of survival to now more than 90%.
Kelly says Roswell Park and Oishei Children’s Hospital’s relatively new collaborative program on treating pediatric cancer has everything to do with that.
Erica Brecher is an anchor and reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2018. See more of her work here.