16-year-old Tae’Von Perry has always been incredibly active in his local community: from acting as a worship leader at Encounter Church to singing, playing sports, and dancing with Company D. So when he sometimes came home fatigued at the end of the day, nobody was very concerned. It wasn’t until a wisdom tooth extraction, where Perry had all four wisdom teeth removed, that his mother Tyy Tran realized something was wrong. In reporting from Port Arthur News, reporter Mary Meaux explained that Perry began bleeding during the surgery—and didn’t stop.
Normally, a clot would form, helping to control the bleeding. But after the wisdom teeth extractions, doctors had difficulty stopping the blood flow. Further testing showed that Perry had a rare and aggressive blood cancer called acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL). Doctors started Perry immediately on chemotherapy; he will remain on this treatment for an indeterminate amount of time. He requires treatments five days each week. Because of this, Tran and Perry are currently staying at the Ronald McDonald House. They are also unable to continue school and work normally.
The family’s community has rallied behind them. From My Tribe Nutrition donating a portion of every sale on February 28 to Perry’s treatment, to a March 4 benefit to raise funds for medical treatments, to an April 1 Purse Bingo event, Perry is supported from every angle. If you’d like to donate, or get involved, you can donate to Tran’s PayPal account ([email protected]) or head to Taevons’ Testimony to learn more.
What is Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia (APL)?
As described above, acute promyelocytic leukemia is a rare and aggressive blood cancer; it is considered a form of acute myeloid leukemia (AML). It is characterized by excess amounts of promyelocytes (an immature blood-forming cell) in the blood and bone marrow. As a result, the body is unable to produce enough healthy red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. An estimated 600-800 people in the United States are diagnosed with APL each year. While it can affect people of all ages, it is most common in middle-aged adults. APL results from a translocation between chromosomes 15 and 17.
Symptoms of APL may include:
- Unintentional weight loss
- Appetite loss
- Anemia, neutropenia, and thrombocytopenia
- Fever, chills, and night sweats
- Muscle weakness
- Blood clots
- Excessive bruising and bleeding
- Pain in the affected area
- Enlarged liver and/or spleen
- Bloody stool and/or urine
- Recurrent infections
- Swollen gums
Treatment options for this cancer include chemotherapy in conjunction with all-trans-retinoic-acid, arsenic trioxide, or stem cell transplantation.