My name is Trent, I’m 16 years old. I was born in Rhode Island, but now live in NC. I am the youngest of five children (and I have a twin brother). On March 13, 2015, after being sick for over two weeks, I was told I had a rare form of leukemia called natural killer cell leukemia (ANKL), and I started chemo that night. We were told there were only about 60 documented cases of this in the world. From that day on, I spent most of my time either in, or near, the UNC hospital.
In the beginning, when I was first diagnosed, my family was really scared. A while later, my friends at school found out and were devastated.
It was hard because they wanted to visit me but the hospital was so far from home. Our church did a bone marrow drive for me because there were no matches in the registry, and none of my siblings were a perfect match – not even my twin.
During my hospital stays, I had high doses of chemo that made me feel terrible. I didn’t want to eat, and I threw up all the time and had high fevers.During my second round, I had to have my appendix removed while my blood counts were not great. I was taking several different meds to help with my appetite and nausea.
In June, we learned that I was in remission! That meant I had to get ready for bone marrow transplant. There was still no perfect match, so I had a 9/10 matched donor. I went through a lot of tests, radiation, and had to have two new Broviac ports placed. On August 18, 2015, I had my bone marrow transplant. I’ve had a lot of battles since transplant, but I am cancer free!
I am grateful to my wonderful support team including my parents, brother, godparents, church family, and some friends, who have been with me through my three-year battle. It’s hard some days to see a silver lining because I still go through a lot of rough times. I’m homeschooled because I have infusions, physical therapy and appointments every week. I keep in touch with a few of my friends from school, but most of the support I have is from my church since we don’t have family members close by.
I hope in the future that I will be able to do the fun things I want to do but can’t right now; to have my dream job, house and car; and not have to worry about any major health issues in my life again.
Trent was our 2018 Face of the Race in Chapel Hill.