Anthony Macchio was already familiar with UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital. After his second daughter, Isabel, was born with a heart defect in February 2019, he and his wife, Amy Hecht Macchio, became accustomed to traveling to Gainesville from Tallahassee for expert pediatric cardiology care. But three months after Isabel arrived, their 4-year-old daughter Josephine, known as Josie, started having fevers, which led them down a path they were not expecting.
Josie’s fevers were not responding to children’s fever medications, so blood tests were done but did not reveal anything definitive. One Sunday morning in May, Josie awoke crying and complaining of leg pain. Additional blood work now showed bone marrow suppression, and the family was sent to UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital for more tests.
Initially, some of Josie’s bone marrow was tested, but the results still did not lead to a diagnosis. After a couple of days at the children’s hospital, her bone marrow was checked again. On May 22, the family finally had an answer but not one they were prepared for. Josie was diagnosed with B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, or ALL.
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