At just 4 months old, our princess Makiya Kaleah Butts, was diagnosed on April 17, 2011 with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. To be honest I wasn’t even quite sure was leukemia was at the time. I mean I have donated and raised money for many of the cancer organizations but if you had asked me the day before I would have had to do some research before I could have answered you. I remember as the doctors were trying to explain everything to me I thought I was having some crazy dream . Once I concluded the alarm clock was not going to make a sound that would take away this anger and hurt and extremely scary situation I realized I had better start paying attention.
Makiya was never one to sleep often or sit still. She spent her days and most of her nights smiling, playing and in my arms. I don’t think I have ever seen a baby so happy. She went from laughing at her two sisters and pulling at her daddy’s hat to a very sick baby girl in just two days. We spent the majority of April through September at Scottish Rite in Atlanta. Makiya’s leukemia seldom ever responded to chemotherapy. In September, we learned her leukemia was actually getting worse with the treatments. I told the doctor to call St. Jude because we are not giving up. A week later we were at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital praying for a miracle. In October, she had a NK cell transplant and a stem cell transplant. I was honored to be her donor. I remembered the feeling of HOPE when she was in remission. Makiya battled many side effects after her transplant. She never gave up. She was the toughest and strongest person I have ever met. It was a very difficult journey, emotionally and physically. She was so strong and usually dealt with it all with a smile on her face. She and GOD gave me the strength I needed to handle everything. Makiya relapsed in January. God called her to walk with the angels in heaven on February 19, 2012.
Makiya’s sister’s Jasmine and Makayla, her father Dexter and myself give a special thanks to Cindy and the Jay’s Hope foundation. It’s nice to be able to speak with someone who may can grasp the idea of where our feelings are coming from. I was not able to work very much ever since Makiya was diagnosed and where I financially felt like a dead end was in my near future Jay’s Hope was able to show me the light. They even helped make sure my kids could feel Christmas when we all thought it was going to be impossible. Cindy has been a great friend. She has been around for a couple of our family events. I think we have all just started treating her like family.