Helping Julia

19-month-old Julia Mae Schweitzer needs a bone marrow match in her fight against leukemia

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By Linda Fields
— At only 19-months old, Julia Mae Schweitzer has spent a good deal of time inside a hospital. She is battling AML — short for acute myeloid leukemia, a cancer that starts in the bone marrow.

She was only five months old when diagnosed, rare for a little girl her age. After several months of chemotherapy, things looked good: the cancer was in remission. Unfortunately, remission is not the same as being cured, and now Julia needs a bone marrow transplant.

“It’s kind of hard to believe this is happening again," said her mother, Francesca Schweitzer, of Dingmans Ferry. “She was almost a year in remission, so I thought it was over."

It's a rollercoaster of emotional ups and downs for this family. The good news here is that they have a match for the transplant: one of Julia’s brothers, 7-year-old Matthew.

“Julia’s lucky that her brother is match, but there are a lot of kids without a match who need this transplant," Francesca told the Courier.

Thinking of others, she urges anyone who can donate bone marrow, to register at www.bethematch.org

But the Schweitzers need some help too. Julia’s transplant will be done soon in Philadelphia. Francesca will stay with her daughter while her husband, Steven, travels back and forth. And although medical insurance will cover most of the cost for treatment, Steven must take unpaid medical leave from his job. Then there is the cost of a hotel room for him and the boys. So to help the couple, Francesca’s sister set up a site, at www.gofundme.com. If you would like to help, you can enter the zip code 18328 to find “Julia’s Fund."

How does this couple remain strong? Francesca said she takes her cue from little Julia.

“Being so young, she smiles through it all, so it’s hard to be upset," she said.

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