Family discovers 13-year-old with COVID also has leukemia: ‘It has been a roller coaster’

December 21, 2020
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    Ariel Griffith, a teenager from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, was having trouble breathing when she was admitted into Grand Strand Medical Center for COVID-19, sepsis, and pneumonia.

    However, things only got worse as her doctor told her that she also has leukemia.

    The eighth grade honors student, who recently made her school’s basketball team, is now hooked up to a ventilator and feeding tube at the Medical University of South Carolina, Today reported.

    On December 1, Lauren Hocin, Griffith’s mother, said her stepfather tested positive for coronavirus while the teen initially tested negative. But that changed several days later.

    “We started feeling bad on December 5. By Tuesday, she was vomiting and throwing up. We know he was positive so we assumed we were too,” Hocin said. “But I noticed when I went to wake her, her face looked swollen. It was in her lymph node area. I said, ‘That doesn’t look right.’ Ariel said she had noticed it but was afraid to tell anyone. It had been like that for weeks.”

    Several days later, the young woman visited a doctor where she was made aware of her cancer diagnosis.

    “I can’t tell you how thankful I am for that doctor,” Hocin said. “Instead of saying your lymph nodes are swollen because of coronavirus, she insisted on a blood test. It came back that her white blood cell count was very low along with platelets and she was sent to the emergency room.”

    Last week, Griffith started chemotherapy, and her mother said that this has been a nightmare for the whole family. Hocin said although this is a struggle, she is remaining hopeful for her daughter’s health.

    “It has been a roller coaster to say the least but to see she has some improvements,” the mother added.

    Hocin said she is celebrating the “small miracles.” Over the weekend, she received the news that the leukemia was not present in her daughter’s spine.

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