NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - A Northshore family prays tonight for a Christmas miracle. They want help getting their 8-month-old son, who's fighting leukemia, into a promising treatment trial.
"We didn't know anything would be wrong. W we thought he would be a healthy baby. Our life was turned upside down for sure," said mother Brittney Self.
Jett Self was diagnosed with leukemia at birth and has had to endure often grueling chemotherapy treatments ever since.
"Like a bad dream," said Jett's father, Tylan Self. "One day everything's fine, the next day the doctor comes in and says your child has leukemia."
Jett appears healthy and happy, but inside his small body, the chemo has done little to kill the cancer cells that keep fighting back.
"Stressful. A definite challenge for our family," Brittany said.
Doctors at Children's Hospital are some of the best, but they've been perplexed by the persistence of Jett's cancer.
"We don't have anything more to offer him in terms of traditional chemotherapy," said pediatric oncologist Dr. Renee Gardner, with LSU Health New Orleans.
The family now wants to send Jett to John Hopkins hospital in Baltimore, where a clinical trial of a new drug EPZ is being conducted. But there's a problem. Jett's immune system is weakened. Just catching a small cold on a crowded commercial flight would be fatal.
So a Ruston businessman offered his private jet, saying he was acting on a request from Congressman Ralph Abraham. And though the clinical trials offer promise, the road will be rough.
"We want him there as soon as possible," said Dr. Gardner. "We're targeting his arrival for Monday at the latest."
A new journey for Jett is about to begin.
"First, I just want prayer, this is a last effort for us, and we pray it works," said Brittney.