Four-year-old Ashley Allen, a Payson pre-schooler who has undergone two surgeries for brain tumors, has just completed two-and-a-half months of chemotherapy and bone marrow transplants at UMC Hospital in Tucson.
"At times I thought we would lose her, she was so sick," said Ashley's mother, Tracy Allen. "But once again, she came through with flying colors."
Even before these most recent procedures, Ashley had been through more surgeries and doctors and medical treatments than many adults experience in their lifetimes.
She was first diagnosed with a "primitive ecto plasmic tumor" near the rear interior of her skull last November and has undergone two operations to have it removed.
Considered a very dangerous "grade 4" tumor, the PNET survival rate is 30 to 50 percent.
Not long after her last surgery, Ashley began her stay at UMC, where bone marrow was removed in preparation for what Tracy, calls "pretty intense chemotherapy" which started March 13.
Since chemo depletes the body of healthy bone marrow, the supply taken from Ashley before the therapy was replaced afterward and allowed to replenish itself within her body.
As her bone marrow started growing again, and Ashley's immune system started returning to normal, she was extremely sick for a number of weeks afterward, and was not released from UMC until last Friday.
Tracy Allen and her husband, Frank, must now take Ashley to Phoenix Children's Hospital once a week to check their daughter's blood and general well-being. In August, Ashley is scheduled for another MRI scan which, if positive, will mean more bone marrow transplants and chemotherapy.
"We're not going to even think about that until we have to," Tracy Allen said.
Today, Ashley herself says she's feeling great. And her mother is feeling extremely thankful.
"Prayer has been a big part of our lives these last few months, and I thank God for all the miracles he has bestowed on our family," she said.
To help the Allens by donating items for auctions or raffles, or in other ways, call Bobbi Hlavacek at 472-7498. Monetary donations can be deposited at Compass Bank, account No. 76206740.