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...

Tips and Support for Soon-to-be Military Dads

Article
6/17/2022
A child holding his dad's face

For Father’s Day, here are some tips to support our military dads.

Recommended Content:

Children's Health

Learning How to 'Stop the Bleed'

Article
5/27/2022
Training students how to pack an injury

In San Antonio, there is an ongoing effort to train as many people as possible on how to control bleeding to increase the chances for victim survival.

Recommended Content:

Children's Health | Emergency Preparedness and Response | Civil Support | Education & Training

TRICARE Answers Your Questions About Baby Formula

Article
5/23/2022
Baby smiling

The shortage of baby formula is having an impact on millions of families including military families. Here are a few questions and answers about the shortage to help.

Recommended Content:

Information for Patients: About TRICARE | Children's Health

Tips for Talking to Your Kids About Current Events

Article
4/29/2022
U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Rocio Romo, public affairs specialist at Space Launch Delta 30, spends quality time with her son at Cocheo Park on Vandenberg Space Force Base, California. We celebrate Month of the Military Child in April to celebrate military children whose parents serve the United States. (Photo: U.S. Space Force Airman 1st Class Kadielle Shaw)

Parents can help reassure children who are troubled by news events they see on TV and social media.

Recommended Content:

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

Helping Your Child to Cope with Grief and Losses Related to COVID-19

Article
4/28/2022
Shirley Lanham Elementary School students perform Taiko drumming during a Month of the Military Child celebration aboard the Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Japan, April 6, 2022. (Photo: Petty Officer 2nd Class Ange-Olivier Clement, Naval Air Facility Atsugi)

Many military children have lost loved ones to COVID-19. How parents can help with the grief.

Recommended Content:

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

How to Help Military Children Reconnect After Two Years of the Pandemic

Article
4/25/2022
Airman 1st Class Rocio Romo, Space Launch Delta 30 public affairs specialist, and her son pose for a photo at Cocheo Park on Vandenberg Space Force Base, California, March 25, 2022. During the month of April, we celebrate Month of the Military Child to highlight the sacrifices military children make on the home front while their parents serve the United States. (Photo: Airman Kadielle Shaw, Space Launch Delta 30 Public Affairs)

How parents can help children stressed by more than two years of COVID-19.

Recommended Content:

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

8 Tips to Help Kids Adjust to Change during the New Pandemic Phase

Article
4/15/2022
A parent comforts his child while she receives a pediatric dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at Kadena Air Base, Japan, Jan. 28, 2022. (Photo: Airman 1st Class Anna Nolte, 18th Wing Public Affairs)

Parents should prepare their kids for the new normal of the ongoing pandemic, recognizing that the status of the disease can change quickly as new variants of COVID-19 emerge.

Recommended Content:

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

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

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

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

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

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 > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 2
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