Community rallies for 12-year-old from Pine Island battling leukemia

PINE ISLAND, Minn. (KTTC) -- A Pine Island sixth grader is preparing to return to school after a nearly year-long battle with leukemia. Lacey McClain, 12, was diagnosed with T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia last year and has undergone extensive treatment at Mayo Clinic Hospital, Saint Marys Campus since the diagnosis.

We thought she had mono, said Lacey's mom, Chrissie Jurrens. We took her in to make sure that was the case and the doctor came to us and said her white cell blood count was way higher than normal."

In fact, Lacey's white blood cell count was more than 20 times above normal. On October 29, 2013, she was diagnosed and immediately began aggressive chemotherapy treatment. It wasn't until January that Lacey began going into remission. Her battle didn't end there. Doctors told the family Lacey would also need a stem cell transplant.

Chemotherapy isn't easy on anybody's body, but she did a really good job of keeping her composure and staying strong and just knowing she was going to get through it, said Jurrens.

Months after going into remission, Lacey received a stem cell transplant on June 3. The transplant meant a 49-day stay in the hospital. In total, the 12-year-old has spent more than 100 days in the hospital.

She was my strength and I tried the best I could to be hers," said Jurrens. "We just stuck together."

Since her homecoming in late July, Lacey has spent much of her time resting and keeping up with doctor's appointments in order to get the all clear to go back to school next week. Despite, a compromised immune system, she'll be allowed to return to classes and a normal routine.

I'm excited for her, but I'm nervous because I know that a lot of germs are picked up in school and that's where most kids get sick. I kind of have mixed emotions about it, said Jurrens.

The family hasn't made their journey to recovery alone, Jurrens said there's been an outpouring of support from the community, including a benefit and 5K planned for Saturday, September 13.

She's not totally capable of being that normal kid yet, said Jurrens. I know that she's going to get there and I know that we're going to have good times again and I'm going to see her doing the things that I want to see her doing again."

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Community rallies for 12-year-old from Pine Island battling leukemia

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