March’s Warriors of the Month – Jalen and Montana

This month we’re running a Double Warrior Special! Please send individual cards to each child to acknowledge their amazing strength.

Jalen is 15, a very active and outgoing young man who always puts everyone else first. He was very proud to be named Head Captain for his house group at school this year – but unfortunately he will not be able to attend for most of this year, if at all.

In March 2012 Jalen was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. After several months of harsh induction chemotherapy including multiple doses of intrathecal chemo (chemotherapy delivered via lumbar puncture), and years of taking oral chemotherapy every day, he finished treatment in July 2015 and received the all clear. Tragically, he relapsed only two weeks before Christmas, after being off treatment for just a few months.

He has once again been undergoing chemotherapy, and spent both Christmas and New Year in hospital. At the beginning of April he will receive a bone marrow transplant from his sister Montana, who is 13. He will receive huge doses of chemotherapy for several days to destroy his bone marrow, and then will remain in isolation in hospital until the donor cells have successfully engrafted – usually around 50 days after transplant. If all goes well, he will then be allowed to return home, where he will remain in isolation (except for twice weekly hospital check-ups) until he reaches 100 days post transplant.

Montana is a caring, loving girl and a very talented basketball player, who has been forced by her brother’s diagnosis to mature far beyond her years. She has been sidelined for years as her family focussed on her brother’s health, and after just a few months of relative normalcy her world was once again turned upside down when he relapsed. She loves her brother very much, and it breaks her heart to see him so unwell. She will be Jalen’s bone marrow donor, giving him the greatest gift of all – life!

Montana has already undergone a blood test to confirm that her tissues are a good match for Jalen. On the day of his transplant, Montana will be put under general anaesthetic so doctors can use a large needle to puncture her hip bones and extract bone marrow from within them. She may feel sore and bruised for a few days afterwards, but the discomfort should gradually settle. The donated bone marrow will be sent to Royal Perth Hospital to be prepared for transplant into her brother later the same day.

Despite everything Jalen and Montana have already been through and the challenges they continue to face, they have never stopped smiling through all the pain and heartache.

Jalen loves all kinds of sports, especially cricket, football & basketball. His favourite teams are Golden State Warriors (NBA), Wildcats (NBL) and Fremantle Dockers (AFL). Playing PlayStation and Xbox while in hospital keeps Jalen busy and allows him to play online with his mates. He also enjoys listening to music.

Montana loves sport – her favourite NBL player is Greg Hire from the Perth Wildcats. She enjoys listening to music, hanging out with her friend, and loves shopping and make up.

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