Grace Rosian or as the hospital staff calls her, Amazing Grace, has been through more than most people do in a lifetime in just 8 months. Seventeen months old, she has finally been released from the hospital following a fight with leukemia – twice.
Born prematurely with Down syndrome in October 2016, Grace was diagnosed at birth with transient myeloproliferative disorder (TMD), a form of leukemia common in babies with Down syndrome. Two days after her arrival she endured her first round of chemotherapy. Grace spent her first two months in the hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
According to Seth Rotz, M.D., a pediatric oncologist at Cleveland Clinic Children’s who has treated Grace, children born with Down syndrome bear a higher risk of later contracting acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a more serious cancer of the blood and bone marrow. That is exactly what occurred in August 2017, prompting Grace and family to begin their eight-month inpatient journey.
“Although AML is a curable form of leukemia for kids with Down syndrome, their bodies are extremely sensitive to chemotherapy,” explained Dr. Rotz. “Grace was at such a risk for severe infections that she had to stay hospitalized throughout her treatment.”
Grace’s AML was also found in her spinal fluid, an extremely rare occurrence that added further rigor to her treatment plan. Typically a child with AML might only need two spinal taps, Grace received 10 spinal tap procedures, in which the chemo was administered directly into the spinal fluid.
“Even when her body was battered by infection or the effects of chemo, Grace took the treatments like a champ,” added Dr. Rotz. “All the nurses and everybody here just loved her.”
After a long 8 months, Grace and her family are once again home together. Staff at Cleveland Clinic Children’s staff lined the hallway cheering and wishing them well as her mom Valerie – surrounded by balloons and smiling – wheeled her out the door.