Kansas City,
12:23 PM

Critical Care Transport: Providing Comfort to Kids

The day before her fourth birthday, Reese Horn and her parents, April and Josh, learned she had a life-threatening form of cancer—high-risk pre-B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

“Reese hadn’t been sick, but she had some enlarged lymph nodes in her neck and began bruising very easily,” April said.

Because the Horns live in Douglas, Kansas, a small town outside Wichita, Reese’s treatment began there with two rounds of chemotherapy.

“We knew from the beginning if Reese didn’t respond to the chemotherapy, that a bone marrow transplant at Children’s Mercy might be in her future,” April said.

Radiation Therapy 

When Reese didn’t go into remission after the second chemotherapy cycle, the Horns wasted no time moving forward.

But before she could receive the transplant, Reese’s immune system had to be prepared to accept the treatment. She was admitted to the Children’s Mercy Hematology/Oncology unit for an intense combination of immuno and radiation therapies.

Children’s Mercy inpatients receive radiation therapy at the University of Kansas Cancer Center, but they can’t just hop in the car and drive across town for treatment. For children as sick as Reese, the trip requires the services of the Children’s Mercy Critical Care Transport team.

“Reese had a total of six radiation treatments, two a day for three days,” April explained.

April and Josh were concerned their shy daughter might have difficulties riding in the back of the ambulance, but their fears were unfounded.

“We rode in the front with the driver, Jeff, and Reese rode in the back with Jessica, the nurse,” April said. “Jessica was very nurturing, and Reese loved her.” Once at the hospital, Jeff and Jessica always helped get Reese in position for her treatment.

“Reese did awesome, and I believe that was because she was so comfortable with the transport team.”

April and Josh were comfortable too. “I think you’re always apprehensive when there is an ambulance ride involved,” April said. “But Jeff and Jessica made us feel safe and at ease. That meant a lot to us.”

Reese Receives Bone Marrow Transplant

A few days after finishing her radiation treatments, Reese received her bone marrow transplant, a process that went so smoothly, she only spent five weeks in the hospital before returning home.

It’s now been eight months since Reese’s transplant, and April said except for the fact that her hair is just now growing back, you would never know all she’s been through.

“Reese started preschool in fall, and she’s doing gymnastics and dance,” April said.

“We have stayed in touch with Jeff and Jessica,” April added. “Whenever we’re back for a checkup at Children’s Mercy, we try to see them. We could not have asked for a better transport team. I would trust them with my child’s life.”


Learn more about the Critical Care Transport at Children's Mercy.