Features, Morningside People, Sports

Sims survives childhood cancer

McKenna Sims

by Alexis Spier–McKenna Sims is the point guard for the women’s basketball team. She was diagnosed with cancer when she was four years old.

Lymphocytic leukemia is a type of cancer where the bone marrow makes too many white blood cells. Sims became very sick when she was four, and her mother took her to the doctor. She was told she had an ear infection, so she went home with medication.

A few days later, she was still running a fever, so she went back to the doctor. This time, the doctor told her she had strep throat, so she went home with more medication.

After a couple more days, her temperature was 104 degrees, and she broke out in bruises all over her body. This time they went to the doctor and demanded a full check up. Doctors did not find what was wrong with Sims, so they recommended she get some labs at the children’s hospital. Immediately when she arrived at the hospital, her blood was checked. In the sample, they found cancer cells in her blood cells.

The doctors admitted her, and she stayed overnight. The next morning, she was prepped for a spinal tap, or a lumbar puncture. The results showed Sims had a high white blood cell count, and not enough red blood cells. The white blood cells were taking over her body.

“I was very young, but I still recall all the emotions I had,” said Sims. “I would cry and throw fits all the time, because of the pain I was enduring. They had me on steroids to ease the pain, but they made me so hungry. I would cry all over again from being so starved.”

At the time, Sims’ mother had two children to worry about. “I was pregnant with Kenna’s bother at the time, so I was always crying,” Mindy Sims said.

Her emotions were much like her daughter’s. Mindy would drive her daughter to chemotherapy once a week for a whole month. The next month, Sims would go once every two weeks. After that, for the rest of the year, Sims would receive chemotherapy every three months.

After her first year of chemotherapy, she was officially diagnosed with Leukemia. The doctors placed a port on the left side of her chest. Coming up in a couple months, Sims will be thirteen years cancer free. 

March 13, 2022

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