Skip to main content

Military Health System

Young cancer survivor rings bell signifying treatment end

Image of Sailor Parker writing her name on a wall sticker . Seven-year-old Sailor Parker writes her name on a wall sticker after she rang the bell in the Brooke Army Medical Center Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Clinic April 1, 2021, signifying she won her battle against Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (Photo by: Lori Newman, Brooke Army Medical Center).

Recommended Content:

Children's Health

After a two-and-a-half-year battle with a rare childhood disease, one little girl has a big reason to celebrate.

Surrounded by her parents and a small group of medical staff, including Brooke Army Medical Center Commanding General Brig. Gen. Shan Bagby and Command Sgt. Maj. Thurman Reynolds, 7-year-old Sailor Parker recently rang the bell in the BAMC Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Clinic signifying she won her battle against Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia.

"Sailor we are so proud of you and how well you have done with your treatment," said Air Force Lt. Col. (Dr.) Della Howell, pediatric hematologist/oncologist assigned to the Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston facility. "We couldn't have asked for a better patient."

According to the National Cancer Institute, childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia, also called ALL or acute lymphocytic leukemia, is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow.

"This is the most common type of cancer in children and adolescents, but only happens at a rate of 34 per million in those who are under 20 years of age," explained Howell.

"In the past, before the advent of chemotherapy, this disease was almost always lethal. In the 1960s, the survival rate was less than 10 percent. Now the overall survival rate of the disease is about 90 percent."

Sailor's father, Air Force Tech. Sgt. Aaron Parker, was stationed at Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo, Texas, when she became critically ill and was transported via life flight to Dell Children's Hospital in Austin, Texas.

"In less than an hour everything changed," Parker said. "Our entire world changed in so many ways."

Sailor's grandmother, Kim McSparren contacted an old childhood friend, Delores Hagen, who happens to be a critical care nurse in the Pediatric Sedation Unit at BAMC. Coincidentally, Hagen also had leukemia as a child.

"Forty years ago, Sailor's grandmother lived across the street from me. She was my best friend," Hagen said. "She asked me if I would please go talk to Sailor's parents."

After completing a couple months of treatments, Sailor was transferred to BAMC and her dad received a compassionate reassignment to nearby Randolph Air Force. Hagen was there to provide support every step of the way.

"Nurse Delores Hagen has been pretty incredible this entire time helping out above Sailor's treatment consisted of intravenous chemotherapy, oral chemotherapy and intrathecal chemotherapy, injected directly into the spinal fluid through lumbar punctures.

"By the time we received her as a patient, she was overall, doing quite well and was already in remission," Howell said. "The chemotherapy treatment course lasts about two and a half years for girls."

Sailor's parents were overjoyed that their daughter was finished with her treatment.

"There has been a lot of frustrating moments, a lot of painful moments, but now that it's all wrapped up and coming to an end, it's like a pinch yourself moment," Parker said.

COVID-19 made things even more difficult because Sailor's immune system was compromised.

"The COVID slump that everyone has been in; we were one level deeper," Parker said.

"Now we are actually getting to feel what normal COVID life is with everybody else," he laughed. "We don't know what to do because all these doors and possibilities have opened back up."

Megan Parker, Sailor's mother, agrees. "It's been a journey. It's kind of surreal that it's basically come to an end."

Sailor said she is looking forward to being able to go to grandma's house now that her treatment is finished. There may even be a trip to the beach and Jiu-Jitsu classes in her future.

"Sailor has done extremely well with her treatments and we hope that she is cured of her disease, but she will be watched very closely to make sure that there are no signs of the leukemia returning," Howell said.

You also may be interested in...

Kids' Teeth Grinding Usually Stops Around Age 9 or 10 - But Not Always

Article
4/15/2022
A child receives dental treatment during the “Give Kids a Smile” day event March 9, 2019, held by the 375th Dental Squadron clinic on Scott Air Force Base, Illinois. Children registered for the event were given the chance to receive cleanings, fillings, and more at no cost to their parents. (Photo: Airman 1st Class Isaiah Gonzalez, 375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs)

Do you ever see or hear your child grinding his or her teeth or clenching his or her jaws during the day or at night while sleeping? That’s a potentially serious health problem. Teeth grinding in kids may require a night guard.

Recommended Content:

Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness | Children's Health | TRICARE Dental Care

Thank you for being a Military Kid

Video
4/12/2022
Thank you for being a Military Kid

Military parents read letters to their children, thanking them for all they do to support the mission. Thank you for being a military kid. Thank you for being resilient and supportive throughout our many years of service. Thank you for helping Mommy around the house and being so strong when I have to be gone for days, weeks or months at a time. Changing states, homes, schools and activities isn't easy. But you took it as a new adventure. The courage you have by going to three different schools in three years really makes me look up to you. I am blessed, thankful and grateful to have such beautiful and handsome, loving kids who not only support me but each other while I'm away. You are the reason why I work so hard. Thank you for always keeping your spirit. Most of all, thank you for being you. Your smiles, laughs and love are what I've gotten me through every day. I love you. And thank you for everything you do. This video was originally created for a 2019 Military Kids Connect campaign.

Recommended Content:

Month of the Military Child - Celebrating Military Kids | Children's Health

National Infant Immunization Week

Infographic
3/15/2022
National Infant Immunization Week

It’s more important than ever to help protect children from vaccine-preventable diseases. This #NationalInfantImmunizationWeek make sure your child and children around them are safe by ensuring your infant is properly vaccinated.

Recommended Content:

April | Immunizations | Children's Health

Do You Have COVID-19? Influenza? Or is it RSV? Here’s What to Look For

Article
1/24/2022
Military personnel preparing a COVID-19 test sample for processing

Knowing the symptoms of COVID-19/RSV/Flu will help your medical treatment

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Seasonal Influenza Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus & the MHS Response | Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness | Children's Health

DHA Form 236: Pediatric (5-11 years) COVID-19 Vaccine Screening and Immunization Documentation, v8

Form/Template
1/7/2022

This form is used to determine if the COVID-19 vaccine can be administered to the pediatric patient. (Version 8, June 2022)

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Children's Health | Immunization Healthcare Division

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome: How to Keep Babies Safe While Sleeping

Article
11/24/2021
baby boy asleep on his back in a crib

Don’t co-sleep with babies; that’s a SIDS risk factor teaser

Recommended Content:

Women's Health | Children's Health

DODEA Schools Keeps On With In-Person Classes, and Fall Sports, Too

Article
9/23/2021
Kids playing football

DODEA schools are striving to continue in-person learning in the 2021-22 school year.

Recommended Content:

Children's Health | Coronavirus & the MHS Response

Don't Hesitate: Vaccinate Today for School

Article
8/13/2021
A boy gets the COVID-19 vaccine

Back to School Means Vaccine Time

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus & the MHS Response | Immunization Healthcare Division | Vaccine-Preventable Diseases | Vaccine Recommendations | Children's Health | Immunizations | Information for Patients: About TRICARE

TRICARE: Back-to-School Season!

Video
8/12/2021
TRICARE: Back-to-School Season!

It's #BacktoSchool season! Busy buying school supplies, backpacks, and clothes for the fall? But have you scheduled your child's preventive health exams and immunizations? Be sure to follow these tips: https://go.usa.gov/xFQCD #BacktoSchool2021

Recommended Content:

Information for Patients: About TRICARE | Children's Health | Back to School

Back to School Fast Tips

Video
8/11/2021
Back to School Fast Tips

Here are some fast tips for a smooth and safe transition to getting back to school this year.

Recommended Content:

Preventive Health Toolkit | Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness | Children's Health | Back to School

Lead Level Screening and Testing for Children

Report
8/10/2021

S. 1790 NDAA Conference Report for FY 2020, 116-333 Sec. 703

Recommended Content:

Children's Health

MHS and MOS Town Hall To Your Health: Back to School

Article
8/10/2021
Infographic about the To Your Health Town Hall

MHS and Military OneSource presents a summer safety discussion with experts about Back to School Vaccinations and Beyond

Recommended Content:

Immunization Healthcare Division | Vaccine-Preventable Diseases | Children's Health

Vaccinations To Your Health

Video
8/9/2021
Vaccinations To Your Health

Join us live with Defense Health Agency and Board Certified Family Nurse Practitioner, Ann Morse, to discuss vaccines, vaccine safety and tips for keeping your military family healthy as the new school year approaches.

Recommended Content:

Immunization Healthcare Division | Vaccine-Preventable Diseases | Children's Health

How You Can Prevent This Cancer-Causing Sexually Transmitted Infection

Article
8/4/2021
Doctor talking to a boy

Get the HPV vaccinations for cancer prevention if you haven’t already

Recommended Content:

Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness | Children's Health | Immunizations

Retinopathy of Prematurity, Important Focus for Military Eye Doctors

Article
6/23/2021
Health personnel conducting a morning assessment on an infant

Retinopathy of Prematurity is a little-known disease with big risks.

Recommended Content:

Children's Health | MHS GENESIS: The Electronic Health Record | Centers of Excellence
<< < 1 2 3 4 > >> 
Showing results 16 - 30 Page 2 of 4
Refine your search
Last Updated: April 16, 2021
Follow us on Instagram Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on YouTube Sign up on GovDelivery