GR Mom Fights Rare Leukemia; Tries to Save Unborn Child

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – At 5 months pregnant, Alyssa Gale-Mitchell rests in the hospital in Ann Arbor.

“If it weren’t for me being pregnant, I wouldn’t have come into the hospital, and I wouldn’t have ever known,” Alyssa Gale-Mitchell, of Grand Rapids said.

She calls her unborn child her “miracle baby.”

In early December, she came down with a cold or so she thought. It got progressively worse. Doctors at Spectrum Butterworth Hospital found fluid on her lungs.

“They’d seen abnormal white blood cells, which means leukemia,” Gale-Mitchell said.

To make matters worse, it’s a rare, aggressive form of leukemia called acute lymphoblastic leukemia.  She said doctors told her only three known cases had occurred in Michigan.

She’s also pregnant. Though, doctors suggested Alyssa terminate her pregnancy.

“She told me, ‘Mom that’s murder. I can’t,’ and she got really depressed,” Melissa Gale, Alyssa’s mom said.

“It was like, whoa, we need to send you to U of M, we don’t know how to do this,” Gale-Mitchell said.

Determined to save her life and keep her baby, Alyssa’s undergoing chemotherapy at the University of Michigan Hospital.

The treatment depletes her immune system and she can’t have any physical contact with people, including her two year old son Daetyn.

It’s been difficult, but she said Christmas brought the two together.

“He knows that mom is sick and doctors are taking care of her. He’s dealing with that pretty well, but it’s kind of hard for him to understand why mom and dad’s not here,” Lori Carter, Alyssa’s mother-in-law said.

“Her husband has not left her side and won’t leave her side,” she said.

Alyssa married her husband, Jonathon, in the hospital a week and a half ago. That was shortly after her diagnosis.

Before she starts taking more aggressive medications, doctors will induce labor early. The hope is to give her unborn child “Scott” a chance at life.

“They are my inspiration. I have to beat this. There’s no questions about it. My kids need their mommy,” Gale-Mitchell said.

With her family’s support, Alyssa says this trial changed her for the better. “It’s helped me realize that life’s not about material things, at all,” she said.

As she fights to survive and save her baby, she wants the public to learn from her story.

“What I want to say, especially for people who are diagnosed with this or will be diagnosed with this in the future, is that there is hope,” she said.

“There is a lot of hope. You know and especially here at U of M. They are amazing, and they specialize in leukemia, and I really think coming here is saving my life,” Gale-Mitchell said.

She said doctors determined she may have had the disease for about two months before being diagnosed. She believes they caught it early enough to save her life.

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  • Bobijane M

    she is a very strong women and mother and is very lucky to have her family around her at all times and is lucky to have such a great mother in law to help take care for her son!!! I pray every day for her and know god has been answering prayers..

  • Bethanie

    She indeed is strong young women she's been one of my close friends since I met her in our 9th grade year when she was new, always an outgoing person and caring Love you Alyssa!

  • Alyssa Gale-Mitchell

    This broadcast means alot that there will be awareness and that people do not have to be scared when entering this critical time. The type of ALL that it is, is t-cell ALL which the doctors informed me last night only has a survival span of a few weeks without chemotherapy so they don't think i had it for as long as they had first thought. which is amazing to me to know that we caught it in the nick of time before it got real bad or even fatal. I hope that if anyone could learn anything from this it is to NEVER give up don't ever stop believing. :) and fox 17 thank you SO much for getting my son on camera it was very touching to see him throwing snowballs (especially seems how that was the first time i have seen him willingly play in the snow) i can not tell you how much that means to me, so again thank you

  • Tracy Bivins

    Our whole family continues to HOPE an Pray for you and your family. It was nice to see a face behind the name Jeri has told us so much about. Keep Hope and Faith close to your heart. And Believe that miracles can happen. You have made millions of people aware of the disease and the help that is out there. Stay strong and fight young lady. Hugs from the Bivins Family.

  • isabel


  • Peggy C

    I'm a stranger, but got a post about your story on Facebook. You sound like such a strong person, and with God's help, I pray you continue to have courage and hope to inspire others, and I pray for your full recovery and the health of your baby. And thanks for being brave enough to say NO to abortion. The doctors told my daughter-in-law she needed an abortion for medical reasons, but she said NO and now we have a beautiful four year old that I cannot imagine living without. BLESS YOU, PEGGY


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