BUFFALO, N.Y. — A Niagara Falls toddler has survived leukemia, and doctors at Roswell Park are calling it nothing short of a miracle. Chasity Mayfield from Niagara Falls is about to celebrate her second birthday this weekend.
"Honestly, it's going to be a blessing. We're thankful. We're grateful to even think that we can even celebrate Chasity's second birthday, all that she's been through and everything, and she's here today, and we're celebrating her second birthday," says mom, Shawanda Prather.
When Chasity was just 5 weeks old, she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia. It meant her family was about to spend a lot of time at both Oishei Children's Hospital and Roswell Park.
"It was just like a whirlwind, but we were just focused on starting the game plan starting from day one," says dad Cariorl Mayfield.
Chasity started on chemo, but then doctors recommended an advanced, new treatment - CAR T therapy. One of the youngest patients to ever receive it.
"There was a lot of risk involved because of her age, her size, and the steps they have to do for that procedure, but thank God, you know," says Mayfield.
"My faith grew bigger than it was ever before. It grew. Grew real big," says Prather.
"Yes, even when she had her down stages, faith was always growing because you see her development, you see the steps that she was taking, and it was just, everything was for the best," says Mayfield.
Now, after a bone marrow transplant where her sister was the donor, Chasity is doing really well, and her family is looking forward to many more healthy birthdays.
"It was just, you have to keep faith in God," says Mayfield.
Chasity's dad is thankful for her medical team.
"They were real understanding, it's just my love for them is unexplainable," he says.
"We had never been able to do this before in a child as young as her, and so it was kind of uncharted territory that we walking into," says Dr. Kara Kelly.
Dr. Kara Kelly remembers telling Chasity's parents that she had gone into remission with this therapy.
"It was the first time in her life that she had no detectable leukemia cells, and it was just such a gift to be able to let them know this wonderful news, and I can still recall the big smiles on their face," says Dr. Kelly.
This type of new therapy has the potential to help many people.
"There are a lot of different types of CAR T cells. The one that Chasity received specifically targets this one type of leukemia, but there's just been an explosion of research, and we're now studying using these CAR T cells for a whole wide range of different cancer types on the Roswell Park website, there's a whole section devoted to specifically to CAR T cells, and all of the different types that are available, and are currently being investigated," says Dr. Kelly.
Roswell shared this video about CAR T therapy: