Meet Iris

5-year-old Iris is an energetic and outgoing little lady who loves making new friends!

When Iris’s mom initially noticed her daughter’s frequent bruising, she put it down to her playful nature. Iris was a lively preschooler with an adventurous nature.

Then things took a turn in August 2022 when Iris began vomiting, had a fever and was showing GI symptoms after returning from vacation.

Iris’s mom took her to SickKids Hospital, expecting to be in and out…

Instead, her parents were given the heartbreaking news that their child had refractory B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

The following months of treatment were a whirlwind, full of twists and turns and many immensely hard moments.

The initial induction chemotherapy caused Iris’s immune system to become severely compromised, which lead to her contracting COVID-19, norovirus, multiple salmonella infections, and then Rhinovirus.

Iris’s cancer was then identified as high-risk with 25% minimal residual disease, which meant that her medical team needed to change tack from standard chemo to immunotherapy with a drug called Blinatumomab.

Unfortunately, the new treatment failed to help her, and in the process, Iris developed a large ulcer and lost weight from persistent GI issues.

As the treatment options narrowed, her medical team considered CAR-T therapy – a different form of immunotherapy that uses engineered T-cells to target cancer.

Iris was admitted for CAR-T treatment in December 2022, and she was declared to be in remission just over a month later.

Iris was then booked in for a bone marrow transplant, but finding a suitable donor proved difficult due to her mixed Spanish and Filipino ethnicity.

In the end, her dad was identified as the best donor option and Iris underwent a successful transplant in March 2023.

Since then, Iris has been doing great! She has check-ups every 4-6 weeks, and continues to receive support for her mobility, developmental and dietary needs.

Iris started school last November and could not be happier to be learning and meeting new people. She is naturally very active, but also cherishes her focus time making art and doing photography.

You’re an absolute champion, Iris. You have thousands of new friends across the country and come August, we’re all riding for YOU!