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...

Helping a Military Child Heal After Loss Infographic

Publication
6/23/2021

Learn ways to support military children as they navigate the grieving process and begin to heal.

Recommended Content:

Children's Health

NMRTU Everett pediatrician continues to provide patient-centered care

Article
6/11/2021
Military health personnel wearing a face mask examining a new born baby

NMRTU pediatrician cares for her patients, one child at a time.

Recommended Content:

Children's Health

Based on data, MHS experts encourage vaccines for adolescents

Article
6/1/2021
Sister and brother smiling at each other

With the Pfizer vaccine approved for youth ages 12 to 15, MHS adolescents are lining up to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus & the MHS Response | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Children's Health

Adolescents ages 12 and older eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations

Article
5/27/2021
Son of military personnel receiving his COVID-19 vaccine

Pfizer vaccine now authorized for children 12 and older.

Recommended Content:

Children's Health | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus & the MHS Response

Military kids are resilient, but far from immune to pandemic effects

Article
4/28/2021
Military personnel wearing face mask holding up posters for Month of the Military Child

Military children are known for being resilient to constant change, but COVID-19 has affected their mental health, too.

Recommended Content:

Month of the Military Child - Celebrating Military Kids | Children's Health | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Staying Resilient | Coronavirus & the MHS Response

Ten ways parents can help kids make good nutritional choices

Article
4/27/2021
Image of a colorful plate outlining the portions and serving sizes of each type of food.

Nutrition is a key element of Total Force Fitness, but it’s just as important to encourage kids to make smart nutritional choices.

Recommended Content:

Total Force Fitness | Month of the Military Child - Celebrating Military Kids | Children's Health | Nutritional Fitness

Children’s well-being contributes immeasurably to force readiness

Article
4/6/2021
Military personnel wearing face mask in the back of a truck

The Defense Health Agency joins in celebrating military children during Month of the Military Child, observed in April, and always.

Recommended Content:

Children's Health | Coronavirus & the MHS Response | Month of the Military Child - Celebrating Military Kids

Defense Health Agency celebrating the mighty military child in April

Article
4/2/2021
This April, the DHA will celebrate the mighty military child

On April 1, the DHA launched the “Celebrating the Mighty” global campaign.

Recommended Content:

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

Good oral care requires lifetime commitment

Article
2/25/2021
Military health personnel, sitting in front of a group of children, showing them how to brush their teeth using a stuffed animal

Children’s Dental Health Month focuses on the importance of developing good oral hygiene habits at an early age.

Recommended Content:

Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness | Children's Health | Total Force Fitness

Keeping kids’ teeth healthy during a pandemic: brush, floss, no sugar

Article
2/18/2021
Military health personnel wearing a face mask examines the mouth of a child

Pediatric dentistry requires tooth brushing, flossing and sugar avoidance. During a pandemic, getting to a checkup has been hard.

Recommended Content:

Children's Health | Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness

Measles Myths: The Measles Can Be Life-Threatening

Video
9/30/2019
Measles Myths: The Measles Can Be Life-Threatening

Measles can be life-threatening, especially for children and among people who have a compromised immune system.

Recommended Content:

Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness | Children's Health | Immunizations | Immunization Healthcare Division | Vaccine-Preventable Diseases | Measles-Mumps-Rubella

Measles Myths: Hand Washing Alone Won't Prevent Measles

Video
9/23/2019
Measles Myths: Hand Washing Alone Won't Prevent Measles

Hand washing alone will not prevent the spread of measles. Dr. Margaret Ryan, preventive medicine physician, debunks some myths about vaccinations.

Recommended Content:

Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness | Children's Health | Immunizations | Immunization Healthcare Division | Vaccine-Preventable Diseases | Measles-Mumps-Rubella

Measles Myths: Vaccines Are Safe

Video
9/17/2019
Measles Myths: Vaccines Are Safe

Vaccine components have been rigorously tested for safety. Dr. Margaret Ryan, preventive medicine physician, debunks some myths about vaccinations.

Recommended Content:

Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness | Children's Health | Immunizations | Immunization Healthcare Division | Vaccine-Preventable Diseases | Measles-Mumps-Rubella

Measles Myths: Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism

Video
9/12/2019
Measles Myths: Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism

Vaccines that prevent measles do not cause autism. Dr. Margaret Ryan, preventive medicine physician, debunks some myths about vaccinations.

Recommended Content:

Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness | Children's Health | Immunizations | Immunization Healthcare Division | Vaccine-Preventable Diseases | Measles-Mumps-Rubella

Report on Plan to Improve Pediatric Care and Related Services for Children of Members of the Armed Forces

Congressional Testimony
12/26/2018

HR 2810, NDAA Conference Report for FY 2018, Sec 733

Recommended Content:

Children's Health
<< < 1 2 3 4 > >> 
Showing results 31 - 45 Page 3 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