Meet Yamila, Yamila won’t back down

Hispanic children are more likely than those from other racial and ethnic backgrounds to be diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), a type of blood cancer, and are more likely to die of their disease. Work led by St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital scientists has pinpointed genetic factors behind the grim statistics.

Yamila, who is now 10, has been fighting cancer ever since she was 3 years old, when she was found to suffer from ALL. Yamila, whose family lived in Puerto Rico, underwent treatment at a local hospital. But the cancer came back.

This time, her doctors recommended a bone marrow transplant and referred Yamila’s family to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. St. Jude invents more clinical trials than any other children’s hospital, which is why the world looks to St. Jude for new and better ways to treat childhood cancer. At St. Jude, Yamila underwent the bone marrow transplant, with her brother serving as her donor.

In addition to providing cutting-edge medicine and care free of charge, St. Jude works hard to create a healing environment that allows kids to be kids.“My daughter began riding her bike shortly after leaving the transplant unit,” said Yahaira, Yamila’s mother. “The physical therapist would come to teach her some exercises, and all she would think about was her bike.”“St. Jude is a hospital where miracles happen,” Yahaira said.

Prior to coming to St. Jude, Yamila had never left her home island. But at St. Jude, Yamila and her family quickly felt at home. Yamila even took English as a Second Language at the St. Jude School presented by Target.

Yamila loves to play guitar, make arts and crafts and cook.

Recently, Yamila’s family was devastated to learn the cancer has returned. They are once again at St. Jude, where Yamila is continuing to fight.


St. Jude is a hospital where miracles happen.

Yahaira, Yamila’s mother

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