On July 13, 2012, Robin Ulness was diagnosed with leukemia at just 9 months old. Gayle Garson, Robin’s mother, said the diagnosis was a complete surprise and it all came on very quick.
“Getting the news was devastating,” Gayle said. “It was like getting kicked in the stomach by a horse. It was so surreal; I just kind of went numb.”
Robin was diagnosed with infant acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), which arises from white blood cells called lymphocytes that do not mature properly. While ALL is the most common type of cancer in children, infant ALL is very rare.
Robin’s diagnosis marked the beginning of two years of treatment. Robin came to Seattle Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center and began six weeks of inpatient care. She then had four more rounds of chemo, which required a number of inpatient stays.
While Robin was inpatient, Gayle came up with an innovative idea for something that would not only help her daughter but would also help other children going through treatment.