One St. Rose mother is encouraging parents to trust their intuitions after her 2-year-old son was diagnosed with leukemia.
“His doctor kept saying he was fine,” Penney Moore said. “But when you think something is wrong with your child, just bring them in. Definitely get another opinion or get them checked out further.”
Moore said she knew something was wrong with her son Kaleb Barden when his fever wouldn’t subside.
“He had a fever of like 104 for a week straight,” she said. “We brought him to his doctor, and they couldn’t find anything wrong and that’s when we brought him into the ER. At the ER they actually treated him for Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome and then the very next day did further tests because he wasn’t getting better.”
Kaleb was diagnosed with leukemia on Sept. 24 and has spent nearly 20 days in the hospital since as he underwent his first three rounds of chemo.
“We just got out the hospital, and now we’ll be doing out patient chemo once a week,” Moore said. “It’s like you look at him and you think, ‘This isn’t real.’ He looks fine.’ It’s such a shock because you never think your kids are going to be sick and then it happens.”
Moore said Kaleb’s three brothers – ages 4, 10 and 13 – have more of a concept of his illness than he does.
“He’s only 2, so he doesn’t know what is going on,” she said of Kaleb. “At a certain point he was just so scared of all the doctors and nurses. Being home is definitely better for him.”
Moore said Kaleb’s doctors have been encouraging regarding his prognosis, and have encouraged her and Kaleb’s father Jimmy Barden to continue with their May wedding plans.
“They told us we have to keep it as normal as possible for everyone,” she said, adding that that sentiment is something Hurricane Ida did not take into consideration.
“It’s been like one thing after another,” Moore said of life lately.” We need a new roof and a new fence, but it could have been a lot worse. Kaleb will do chemo for two to three years … it’s going to be pretty long.”
The St. Charles Parish community, Moore said, has rallied behind her and her family and have bolstered them up during this difficult time.
“Everybody has been so nice,” she said. “I’ve had people make food for us and brought toys for him … everybody has definitely helped out – even if it is just checking up on me.”
A GoFundMe account has been set up for the family and can be found by searching “Help sweet Kaleb in his fight with leukemia” on the site.