Jayden Lutz - Vancouver
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia

Jayden Lutz

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia
17 years old

Vancouver BC

In the fall of 2015 Jay was 17 years old, had recently graduated high school, and was poised to begin his university career. He had plans to immediately jump into studies of media and communications and enjoy his first year of university living in dorms with his peers.

All these plans changed when an unexpected diagnoses of ALL Leukemia stopped him in his tracks. During the summer of 2015, Jay pursued his love of communications and filmmaking by working as a summer camp videographer on the Sunshine Coast of BC. At the end of the summer season, Jay returned home to Langley to prepare for the beginning of university. During his last week at camp and week between his return and the start of the academic year, he noticed some swelling in his neck and a significant increase in physical fatigue after completing normal daily tasks. Wanting to be healthy for the start of his studies, Jay met with his doctor for a checkup. The doctor had Jay get a blood test, but advised that results could take up to 2 weeks to obtain. The next morning, however, Jay received a phone call from his doctor asking to meet that afternoon with a parent at her downtown office. While waiting to get lunch before the appointment, Jay’s dad received a phone call from Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) to notify
him of the diagnoses, and instructed them to go to the hospital immediately.

Jay moved into the hospital that day, where he stayed for 3 weeks. During this time he was introduced to the medical world of IV lines, blood transfusions, and lots of Chemotherapy. When he was able to go home after those weeks, he still had to commute to the hospital for outpatient treatment very regularly. Being able to live at home for that time and see his friends was encouraging for him. During a meeting with his doctors, Jay learned that it was likely that he would need a bone marrow transplant so the doctors had been looking into possible donors and matches for him. After exhausting all possible routes, it was decided that a haploidentical bone marrow transplant would be pursued and Jay’s brother had the potential to be that donor.

After bridging chemo and other various treatment throughout the Christmas season, the date for Jay’s transplant was set and the countdown began. In late January both Jay and his brother Devon were admitted to the hospital for their respective roles in the transplant. Devon was only admitted for a few hours, while Jay began the first batch of pre-transplant chemo. About a week later, on February 2nd, 2016, Jay received the bone marrow transplant that would save his life.

After the transplant, the initial progress was slow, however after a couple weeks and battling through some minor rejection symptoms, Jay’s blood counts were at a safe level to return home. His blood counts were monitored closely, with decreasing frequency as the days went on. Finally, around the 100th day after his transplant, Jay was able to have his Hickman Line removed, which served to show symbolically that this journey was coming to a close.

Today, Jay is a survivor. The bone marrow transplant that he received allowed him to recover from his diagnosis and he is able to live a full life as a young adult, with no restrictions on what he is able to do. Jay is in his fourth year of university and involved in many communities beyond his schooling. Jay is very grateful for the support of his family and friends, church community, and girlfriend as he has recovered.