Georgia girl, 13, who went to ER with a headache dies hours later from undiagnosed leukemia as heartbroken father reveals she ‘had bleeding in her brain, lungs, stomach… everywhere’
- Julia Chavez, 13, died hours after she was diagnosed with leukemia
- Chavez collapsed Sunday after warning she had an headache and earache
- A CT scan and blood test showed she was bleeding ‘everywhere’
A 13-year-old girl from Georgia died hours after she was diagnosed with leukemia when she went to the ER with a headache and ear infection.
Julia Chavez’s sudden death in the early hours of Monday shocked her family as her father Dennis Chavez revealed ‘she had bleeding in her brain, lungs, stomach’ and throughout her body.
The teenager also known as JuJu by her family, had collapsed on Sunday after going to an Augusta urgent care for antibiotics. Julia was rushed to the hospital where blood work and a CT scan showed her cancer diagnosis. She died about twelve hours later around 1am.
‘My 13 year old baby girl was admitted to the hospital on Sunday,’ Dennis wrote in a grieving Facebook post. ‘That’s where we found out she had leukemia. It came on so hard and so fast. Doctors told us there was no way we could have known.’
Julia had no warning signs aside from being tired and bruising easily – which her family previously accredited to her being a tomboy, according to The Augusta Chronicle.
Julia Chavez, 13, died hours after she was diagnosed with leukemia when she went to the ER with a headache and ear infection
Julia’s sudden death in the early hours of Monday shocked her family as her father Dennis Chavez (center) revealed ‘she had bleeding in her brain, lungs, stomach’ and throughout her body.
Julia’s bruises were never a cause of concern for her father because she was merely a teenager.
‘When she would get a bruise, we would ask how she got it, and she would say, “I don’t know,” and shrug it off,’ Dennis told the news outlet. ‘We thought that it was because she’s got a bit of tomboy in her.’
Jenna Randall, the teenager’s mother, was heartbroken to learn about Julia’s diagnosis. She recalled her daughter as being ‘bubbly, bright’ and beautiful.
‘We never knew she had it,’ Jenna told the news outlet. ‘She never had more than a sniffle and she’s never been hospitalized for anything since she was born.’
When Julia was hospitalized, Jenna published an urgent Facebook post begging people to pray for her daughter, who was not conscious.
‘We have more questions than answers right now,’ Jenna wrote at the time.
Julia’s family fears their lives will never be same after losing their ‘perfect’ teenager. Her older brother was devastated by the loss and referred to Julia as ‘his world.’
‘I know she’s my sister, but she’s my world,’ Jackson Chavez told his mom after Julia died.
Jackson and Julia were noted to be inseparable by their grandfather Ernie Randall.
‘They were tied together at the hip,’ Ernie recalled to the news outlet. ‘I remember a few years ago, I took Jackson to a car show and the whole time we were there, he couldn’t have any fun because Julia wasn’t with us.’
He added: ‘It’s going take him a long time to get used to.’
Ernie described his granddaughter as being ‘wild’ and ‘perfect.’
‘My granddaughter was the best little girl,’ he said. ‘God says that nobody is perfect, but I’d put a test to that one by her being perfect.’
Julia had no warning signs aside from being tired and bruising easily – which her family previously accredited to her being a tomboy
Julia’s family fears their lives will never be same after losing their ‘perfect’ teenager. Her older brother Jackson Chavez was devastated by the loss and referred to Julia as ‘his world’
Julia was an outgoing seventh grader at Harlem Middle School. Her curiosity cultivated her love for learning about other cultures
Julia was an outgoing seventh grader at Harlem Middle School. Her curiosity cultivated her love for learning about other cultures.
The teenager especially enjoyed Japanese culture and aspired to be an artist.
‘She wanted to learn everything she could about it. She was like an encyclopedia,’ Jenna said. ‘We bought her a kimono because she always wanted one. She loved Japanese culture and wanted to visit one day.’
When Julia was initially admitted to the hospital, family friends set up a meal train to support her parents in what they believed to be a recovery.
‘JuJu has become very sick, very fast,’ organizer Nicole Ramos wrote. ‘Her road to recovery is going to be long, which means the waiting room will be their home for a while. Donations to the family are greatly appreciated.’
The meal train page is still active and has raised more than $900 as of Thursday.
WHAT IS LEUKAEMIA?
Leukaemia is a cancer that starts in blood-forming tissue, usually the bone marrow.
It leads to the over-production of abnormal white blood cells, which fight off infections.
But a higher number of white blood cells means there is ‘less room’ for other cells, including red blood cells – which transport oxygen around the body – and platelets – which cause blood to clot when the skin is cut.
There are many different types of leukaemia, which are defined according to the immune cells they affect and how the disease progresses.
For all types combined, 9,900 people in the UK were diagnosed with leukaemia in 2015, Cancer Research UK statistics reveal.
And in the US, around 60,300 people were told they had the disease last year, according to the National Cancer Institute.
Most cases have no obvious cause, with the cancer not being contagious or inherited.
Leukaemia generally becomes more common with age – the exception being acute lymphoblastic leukemia, which peaks in children.
Other risk factors include being male, exposed to certain chemicals or radiation, and some bone-marrow disorders.
Symptoms are generally vague and get worse over time.
These can include:
- Frequent infections
- Heavy periods, nose bleeds or bleeding gums
- Shortness of breath
Acute leukaemia – which progresses rapidly and aggressively – is often curable via chemo, radiotherapy or a stem cell transplant.
Chronic forms of the disease – which typically progress slowly – tend to incurable, however, these patients can often live with the disease.
Source: Leukaemia Care
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