New Kent 6-year-old Paisley Heath celebrated the one year anniversary of her bone marrow transplant Saturday with a unicorn-themed party.
Paisley, along with family and friends, celebrated her journey with an anniversary party at New Kent Gymnastics Center, according to Paisley’s mother Suzi Heath.
Paisley was diagnosed with diamond blackfan anemia when she was 13 months old and underwent a bone marrow transplant this past February.
She had health complications from the transplant, such as graft versus host disease, in which her immune system and the transplant were fighting each other. Her immune system had to start from scratch, her mother said.
Paisley returned to school and first grade in January after her health and energy improved. Paisley hadn’t been in school since December 2017, although she was doing home-school work, according to Heath.
Heath said she and the rest of the Heath family are thrilled and relieved to have the past year behind them.
“We are able to celebrate with such a miraculous outcome,” Heath said. “Paisley had a lot of fun at her party and all of the kids, including Paisley, had a blast.”
Neighbor and New Kent Gymnastics Center owner Carissa Baldwin, who helped raise money for Paisley’s transplant by selling a coupon book in 2018, said she was happy to host the anniversary.
Baldwin said they had a full house on hand for the party. “The whole gym was decorated with unicorns; it was a magical event for Miss Paisley.”
Paisley and her friends enjoyed gym play time, cupcakes, a selfie station and door prizes. The party also raised more than $100 with a 50/50 raffle for Connor’s Heroes, a foundation that raises money to support children with cancer and their families, according to Baldwin.
Paisley said she had fun at her party and loved seeing and playing with all her friends.
Baldwin said through all of the stages of her recovery, Paisley’s spunky personality has never faded.
“You may be able to tell she is sick from her mask or hair loss, but if you talk to her you'll see she is one strong little girl,” Baldwin said.
Paisley is taking a gymnastics class at the center and may be on a competition team next year, according to Baldwin.
“She is really getting into it again (gymnastics),” Heath said. “Paisley is getting stronger everyday and is spending more time at school learning and playing with her peers.
“We look forward to all the things she will do in the future.”
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Luck can be reached at 757-291-2038, firstname.lastname@example.org or @ashleyrluck on Twitter.