Source: The News Review / Carisa Cegavske
Jazmyn Dream Zeller, 15, has had many experiences that most teens have not.
She has watched the ball drop at Times Square in New York City on New Year’s Eve, thanks to the Make-a-Wish Foundation, and has gone backstage to meet the actors in the Broadway musical “Chicago.” She’s been to Disney World in Florida, courtesy of a group called the Sunshine Kids.
In November, Jazmyn and her family learned why she has spent so much of her life in surgery and chemotherapy. She has a genetic disorder called biallelic mismatch repair deficiency that makes her unable to fight new cancer cells that form in her body, The News-Review reported.
“So basically she has no brakes,” her mother, Heather Doyle, explained. “It’s very rare. She’s one of about 200 people in the world that have it.”
The first time she developed cancer, Jazmyn was 22 months old. She had been walking for about six months at that time and suddenly she couldn’t do it anymore.
“In a matter of about five days, she went from being able to walk to having to hold herself up to barely being able to crawl to not being able to move her legs,” Doyle said.
Jazmyn’s regular doctor was out of town. They saw another, who suggested her shoes might be too tight. That wasn’t it. A couple of days later, their regular doctor returned and sent them immediately to Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland. They thought it might be an infection.
It turned out to be something much, much worse. Jazmyn had a tumor behind her lungs that had developed “arms” that were wrapped around her spinal cord. The cancer was paralyzing her.