Everleigh Ledbetter, a six-year-old from Whitesboro, is spending her days recovering from leukemia treatment. Everleigh has spent most of her life fighting leukemia, her mother Janet Ledbetter said.
Everleigh was diagnosed when she was three years old. Over the course of her treatment, she spent a total of 838 days in the hospital from June 2017 to October 2019. During that time, she had 25 tests, 95 IV infusions, 28 spinal taps and 16 blood transfusions, among several other treatments and tests.
But, in October of 2019, Everleigh received her last treatment, and recently she was given the opportunity to take a trip to Disney World with the help of Wishing Well Texoma.
“She is doing great,” Janet Ledbetter said. “She is in kindergarten. She was able to start this year while she was on treatment. The school has been great accommodating. If she gets too tired they allow her rest time. Her strength is getting better she still takes preventative medication. We started that back in October last year. In April she will be done with all medications concerning her treatment.”
Janet Ledbetter said Everleigh has courage beads that represent all the different trials she has faced.
Once Everleigh’s hair began to fall out Janet Ledbetter said her dad took charge in comforting the his daughter by shaving his head. Janet Ledbetter said she cut her hair too, but stopped short of shaving it off entirely. She said it’s been hard on the child but also hard on the family.
The Ledbetter’s oldest son had just turned 16 when Everleigh was diagnosed. He had to step up and help take his younger brothers to school and sports events while his parents took her to her treatments.
Janet Ledbetter said they tried to keep life as normal as they could for the older boys who would sometimes put their things on hold to visit their sick sister.
Still, Janet Ledbetter said the journey has taken a toll on the family. She eventually resigned from her teaching position with Whitesboro Independent School District to care for her daughter. She had been teaching for 10 years.
When Everleigh was able to get off treatment and was cleared to go to visit Disney World, Janet Ledbetter said Everleigh told her aunt she was finally free to be a kid.
As someone who has spent the last three years of her life interacting mostly with doctors and nurses, Everleigh has been getting some play therapy to help her learn to socialize with other kids her own age.
“She is very independent, strong-willed and fun little girl to be around,” Janet Ledbetter said. “She has struggled this school year with leukemia being a long treatment. It has its setbacks. Her body went into survival mode. She missed out on a lot of the developmental aspects a kid that age was supposed to have.”
Everleigh spends a lot of time with her dogs. She will sometimes bring them into the house and take a nap with one on the couch when she gets tired.
Her mother said she is adjusting and loves to play with her dolls and other toys too. Because of her delayed interactions with other kids she is only now starting to learn to get into imaginary play her mother said.
“She likes music. She likes to dance,” Janet Ledbetter said. “She loves hanging out with her big brothers and watching them play. She is free.”
The family started a Facebook page called Everleigh Strong where it post photos and updates of how she is doing.
For more information on Wishing Well Texoma, visit http://www.WishingWellTexoma.org and to read more stories about children who have received wishes via Wishing Well, visit http://www.HeraldDemocrat.com and search Wishing Well Texoma.