Eleanor Gustafson


On Valentine’s Day 2017 Eleanor started suffering with flu like symptoms. Her family made a doctor appointment and it was diagnosed a head cold/seasonal allergies. Her eyes were swollen, and her mom noticed she started to fall. She could not stand on my hands like she once did, and she didn’t seem like herself. Not long after all her siblings were diagnosed with flu type B, and her family could not change their plans for the weekend.  Baby Lady (Eleanor) in a carrier, and her mom walked with the camera. They covered the UGA Miracle “Dance Marathon” and heard stories they had heard before, and saw new faces. Just three days after covering the event, they found themselves in the same situation. Her mom went to work, and when she came back her eyes looked as she had two black eyes, or someone had put dark eyeshadow over her eyelids, and she could barely open her eyes. They rushed her to the hospital, and the doctor pulled her mom into a room, and said she was suffering from pneumonia. She asked how, why, when? They had just taken her to the doctor. The doctor said it just happens. She went to her kid’s school, and asked their priest to pray. Just hours later her health deteriorated, and my mother said it would be best to take her back to the hospital. She feared the worst, and was very vocal with her concerns for their child. She went back to the hospital, and the nurse practitioner said she didn’t want to scare her, but Eleanor’s heart was swollen, they started a breathing treatment, and she called her mom to meet me at the hospital, while her husband stayed home with our other children, since they were still sick. They put them in another room repeated the x-ray, and the new doctor closed the door behind him, and said Eleanor was a “very sick” little baby and she had cancer. They could see a mass, and could tell based on the blood test. As they waited for the ambulance, her face became paralyzed as she had a stroke, and a scary incident had red flags all over it. They were rushed to Children’s Hospital of Atlanta- Scottish Rite where a gentleman came in to tell them that Eleanor had Leukemia. We were moved to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit where she asked the doctor if her daughter would make it. He said: “I just don’t know.” The mass was pushing on her heart, and esophagus, making it difficult to perform life saving procedures. Another oncologist told them she had “Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (T-ALL)” and she needed a chemo, platelet, and blood transfusions right away, and she told them she heard so many stories, and she was scared, but knew what to expect. She always told them when she didn’t like something, but she knew it needed to be done to keep her alive. She spent a lot of time in the hospital and her family had many scary situations, and learned many medical terms, and they always shared about their beginnings from covering all the cancer events before they knew she had cancer, and how it impacted their lives to this point. Currently Eleanor is in maintenance. She has one year of treatment down, and has two more years to go. She takes daily chemo medications, and is suffering from chemotherapy nerve pain, and is striving each day socially, emotionally, and physically. To keep up with Eleanor: https://www.facebook.com/BraveBabyLady