WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (WFMY) – 4-year-old Jessica Carpenter has spent half her life in treatment for her acute lymphocytic leukemia.
That’s 776 days, mind you.
Today, on the day she celebrated “kicking cancer’s butt,” the beaded necklaces around her neck represent everything she’s overcome: 2 surgeries, 49 rounds of chemo, 8 ER visits, 75 clinic visits and being poked 96 times with a needle.
But it’s finally over.
With a little help from her dad, William Carpenter, Jessica rang the victory bell.
The victory bell symbolizes the end of chemotherapy treatments in many oncology departments, including Brenner Children’s Hospital, where Jessica has been a patient since she was two.
This mean, “that she can just live like a normal child,” her mother, Jaime Carpenter said with tears of joy in her eyes.
Jessica’s journey with cancer began as an anemia diagnosis, and then the family’s world turned upside when doctors found it was actually leukemia.
This holiday season, Jessica can think about Christmas bells instead of victory bells like most kids her age – the greatest Christmas present her family could ask for.
“The past couple of days I’ve not had to give her medication at night and I kinda just sit there thinking, ‘What am I forgetting?’ ‘What medicine am I forgetting?’ and I’m like, ‘I don’t have to give her anything. I don’t have to give her more medication,’ which is amazing,” Carpenter said.
According to Dr. Thomas Russell, Jessica’s doctor, seeing her patients ring the victory bell never gets old.
“It is not lost in us the burden that our patients and their families have to experience,” Dr. Russell said. “For us, this is the icing after a long journey where we get to celebrate what we also consider a huge victory.”
Jessica was surrounded by family and friends visiting from Kernersville and even Virginia and Georgia.