Update – On August 23, 2022, Emma’s mom, Caitlin Melvin, announced on Facebook Emma was discharged from the hospital. She will be staying at the Ronald McDonald House for at least the next 60 days.
Little five-year-old Emma Melvin’s family covets your prayers.
The spunky youngster just finished her last year of pre-school at Elizabethtown Christian Academy and is ready to start kindergarten, but she missed a lot of school this past year because she’s been sick. While other kids her age are making plans this summer for days of playing in the pool, having sleep-overs with friends, going to Grandma’s, maybe even going to camp, Emma is making plans for a bone marrow transplant at Duke Children’s Hospital.
Emma has Severe Idiopathic Aplastic Anemia, a disorder where her body destroys her own stem cells. Her Duke doctors have tried various regimes to get her small body to respond to treatments and make its own platelets and red blood cells. None of those tries has worked, and the bone marrow transplant was the only thing left to help Emma live a normal life.
Emma has a port in her chest just under her collar bone so she doesn’t have to get needle sticks over and over again for her now-regular transfusions of blood and platelets. She’s had too many biopsies, scans, IVs, tests, lab draws, medicines, procedures, and hospital stays to keep count. She hasn’t been able to be around many people because her immune system is so fragile. On her trips to Duke (sometimes once or twice a week) over the past nine months, Emma sings in the back seat of her parents’ car and then she spends her wait time at the hospital and the clinic charming the doctors and nurses — and making up her own corny jokes.
She’s a sweet, cute child with a humongous personality, a snaggle-toothed grin, a happy disposition, and just a little bit of sass. She sees herself as the main protector and best friend of her six-month-old baby brother Charlie.
Next week, Emma goes to Duke for another port placement, and then she will receive a week of chemotherapy and a dose of radiation to kill off any of her remaining cells. On July 14, Emma will receive her transplant — bone marrow donated by an unrelated donor. After the transplant, she will have to stay at Duke to make sure everything goes as according to plan. Her stay at Duke for all of this will be long and hard for her and her family, but Emma is a fighter.
While her parents and grandparents are worried beyond what any words could describe, Emma is brave and, apparently, not stressed about it. In her words, “Jesus will fix me!”
Emma’s faith is thousands of times bigger than her tiny body, so it must really be true that we should all have the faith of an innocent little child.