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$24K raised for Bailey

While a major roadblock in a local woman’s road to recovery from cancer has been overcome this week, family members say there are still more challenges ahead, including a procedure that will be the first of its kind – ever.

Pam Byrd, mother of 22-year-old Bailey Byrd, said it was the generosity of the community that helped the family top the $24,000 they recently needed to pay a hospital bill. Now, she added, the next needed treatment will cost almost twice that amount and will mark the first time it has ever been used on someone with her daughter’s condition.

“Bailey has juvenile granulose cell tumor, which is a very rare form of ovarian cancer,” Pam said. “When she was diagnosed last year, she was one of only 16 others.

They have never done stem cell treatments on someone with this kind of cancer.”

Pam said the family is still reeling from the generosity that helped them pay for a surgery insurance would not cover, but now must work toward paying the approximately $40,000 needed for the stem cell treatment.

“The $24,000 was for a surgery that Bailey had and that is when they found out the cancer was back,” Pam said. “Bailey was hurting so we went back to the doctor and found that the cancer had come back and had spread. The insurance wouldn’t pay for it because they said it should have been done outpatient, but she was already in the hospital in pain.”

Because of their situation, Pam said the family was faced with paying for one surgery, while also looking ahead to other needed treatments.

“We’re are thrilled and thankful more than I can say,” Pam said. “It was a big deal to get that out of the way. Now, we’re all focused on stem cell treatment.”

Pam said the next phase of her daughter’s journey will begin when the family travels back to MD Anderson in Houston on Sun., Aug. 10.

“We’ll be in Houston four to six months,” she said. “Her first appointment will be Aug.12 and she’ll check into the hospital on Aug. 14 for a week.”

Pam said her daughter will then receive a non-traditional type of chemo therapy designed to stimulate stem cells before undergoing treatments for a double stem-cell transplant.

“She’ll have three-to-four weeks of monitoring her stem cells,” Pam said. “Once we get to that point, they will start harvesting her stem cells. We don’t know how long that will take because everyone is different, but she will need between two and five million.”

Pam said that Bailey will then receive “high-powered chemo” that will eventually require her to be isolated from others. Afterward, she will get a month back home to recover before going through the entire process again.

Even with a tough road ahead, Pam said she is thankful for just the opportunity for her daughter to receive the treatment, calling Bailey’s situation a perfect fit for stem cell replacement.

“It’s a process and we need tons of prayer,” she said. “Other than being a cancer patient, Bailey is very healthy and the cancer hasn’t damaged any of her organs, so she’s really the perfect candidate. We are just really trying to get the word out about this. There isn’t a lot of research or money for research.”

Pam said, while the next wave of treatments will begin a new financial battle for her family, she is very thankful to those who have already helped, both monetarily and otherwise.

“You just can’t imagine asking for more,” she said. “People have done so much already.”

But more is being done, including a breakfast supper Saturday night at Bethany Baptist Church from 5 until 7:30 with food provided for donations. Also on Saturday, 22 racers at Flomaton Speedway in Escambia County, Ala. have pledged all of the night’s winnings to help fund Bailey’s treatments. For more information or to make a donation, visit Bailey’s Facebook page, Bailey’s Journey; donate to the Bailey’s Journey account at local Wells Fargo locations; visit giveforward.baileybyrd.com or send donations to Bailey Byrd, P.O. Box 863, Andalusia, AL, 36420.