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Childhood Cancer Awareness Month: Jakiah's Journey

The following article, written by Alexis Crowe, was featured in the September issue of Little Rock Family. 

At Jakiah Collins’ pre-K checkup, her doctor noticed that her abdomen area felt strange, but wrote it off as an infection, telling her to come back later in the year to check on it. Mom Crystal Collins says that when they arrived at the follow-up appointment months later, they were immediately sent to the Arkansas Children’s Hospital’s emergency room, where an ultrasound and CT scan confirmed that Jakiah had a tumor and a form of kidney cancer.

Initially, the tumor was too big to resect, so she began treatment in October 2012 with chemotherapy through the end of November. The Monday after Thanksgiving, the tumor was small enough to be removed.

Following the tumor resection surgery, Jakiah received radiation treatment during 

December and from January to April she continued chemotherapy. She celebrated five years cancer free on May 7, 2018.

What was your best memory at the hospital?

I would say a cool thing was that, since I had to miss a couple days of preschool, my preschool teacher came to visit me. She called my friend to talk to me on the phone while I was there. My friends made me a poster and I still have it.

What was the most difficult part of your treatment?

I don’t remember anything that I thought ‘man this is really tough.’ Maybe having to stay away from school and not being able to see my friends. But other than that, I was just myself in the hospital watching TV all day. I was little, so I knew what was going on, but I didn’t know what was really, really going on.

What makes you feel like a superhero?

I’m getting better at speaking. Like instead of saying ‘look’ I would say ‘wook.’ At my school, they have a speech therapist and so I do that at school. I was going to say going through surgery, but I just slept through everything.

Why should people attend the Superhero Dash-N-Bash?

Every single year my family and friends come and we always dance. They have a DJ and I remember us dancing to “Hit the Quan.” I was Batgirl one year. I loved when my friends came and we all danced together.

A Parent’s Perspective

“With them being so young, they’re so focused on being kids so they go through (treatment) and they’re resilient anyway. You can see the fact that they’re not going to let this get them down. They push to do things and want to play. With Jakiah, I kind of shielded her from the outside world for those six months because she was only 4.”

- Jakiah’s mom, Crystal Collins

 

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