Cranston parents of child with cancer fight to get vaccinated
CRANSTON, R.I. (WLNE) – A family in Cranston is fighting for their one-year-old daughter’s life after she got diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia. Her parents are now asking the state to make an exception and allow them to get vaccinated for COVID-19, so they don’t put their daughter at risk.
“She’s so playful and happy. It’s just so miserable how she can smile and play while her body has a war raging inside of her,” Troy Peck, Aspen’s father said.’’
Troy Peck and his wife Ashley learned of their daughter, Aspen’s, leukemia just before her first birthday.
“I found out over the phone that my daughter has leukemia,” Peck said. “I couldn’t even be there with my wife to find that out. That’s not how that’s supposed to happen.”
The diagnosis was an extremely rare form of cancer with a low survival rate of 20% in just three years.
“It’s a flavor of AML called RAM phenotype AML,” Peck said. “There are approximately 20 kids who have ever had this diagnosis in the entire world.”
The family got put on a list for an experimental treatment at Hasbro Children’s Hospital and got picked. Aspen is undergoing an intense form of chemotherapy, one that stripped her immune system putting her at risk.
“If one of us got a cold and we didn’t know it, it would kill her within hours,” Peck said. “It adds so much anxiety to it. You have this other thing that’s lingering with COVID and knowing that there’s a vaccine out there that we can’t access…”
In fact, Peck is unable to see his daughter right now because he started feeling sick and had to get a COVID test. His rapid test came back negative, but he’s still waiting on a PCR test. That fear is something they deal with every single day.
That’s why the family is fighting to be added to the early phases of the state’s COVID vaccine rollout, not only for them, but any parent in a similar situation.
“We’re lobbying the legislature at the state and federal level to figure out what can be done to set up clinics for people like us because the reality is if we’re protected then we can protect her,” Peck said.
He hopes to protect Aspen so she can make it to get a bone marrow transplant and celebrate many more birthdays.
“Go to join.bethematch.org/aspen and they’ll send a kit right to your house,” Peck said. “I did it myself. You can save her life or somebody else’s.”
The family also started a GoFundMe to help raise money for Aspen’s medical expenses. So far, the community has helped raise more than $70,000.