Julia Roberts Goad
The Survivor’s Lap at this year’s Tug Valley Relay for Life event was led by perhaps the most inspirational survivor at Lefty Hamilton - a beautiful three-year-old who seemed unaware of how she had captivated the attention of the hundreds of participants - Jenna Deskins.
Traditionally the kickoff for Relay for Life is the Survivor’s Lap, with cancer survivors marching in defiance of the cancer that they had battled. Everyone on the field during the Survivor Lap at this year’s Relay was captivated by Jenna Deskins.
Jenna Deskins was diagnosed earlier this year with acute lymphblastic leukemia.. Her grandparents, Shannon and Sam Deskins of Forest Hills.
Shannon, a Registered Nurse employed with the S. Williamson Appalachian Regional Hospital. “She had been sick with the flu, and never seemed to get over it. She continuously ran a high fever, was very pale and stopped eating. The morning that we rushed her back to the hospital, she had developed unusual bruising on her head and neck. After doing blood work, our worst fears were confirmed…Jenna had leukemia.”
Jenna was transferred to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit of the Cabell Huntington Hospital where she remained for 8 days before she was upgraded to serious but stable condition. The toddler underwent extensive chemotherapy and other forms of treatment for an enlarged spleen and liver and had numerous blood and platelet transfusions.
“She has a long road to recovery ahead of her but I know with God on our side, all things are possible,” Jenna’s grandmother said.
Shelli May with the American Cancer Society said the 2013 Relay for Life was a rousing success.
“We had over 200 people signed up to participate before the event,” May said as she worked signing up volunteers and giving out the trademark purple t-shirts. “We have had over 100 already today. We had raised $38,000 before today. Our goal was $48,000, and I am sure we will make it.”