KINGSLAND, Ga. – A Camden Middle School student is fighting an aggressive form of leukemia for the second time.
Claire Bordelon is 13-year-old and is at Wolfon Children’s hospital for the second time. Her mother, Casey Bordelon, told News4Jax the first round of chemotherapy treatment has been hard on her daughter. They are staying positive while they await test results.
“The first time she was diagnosed, you just don’t expect that’s going to happen to your kid. So it was heartbreaking," Bordelon said. “Your first thought is just, ‘I don’t know how are you going to do this.'”
Bordelon said her daughter was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia in May 2016 and started chemo one day later. Claire went into remission after four rounds of treatment while in the hospital for a month at a time with a week break between rounds.
Then, in September 2016, Claire received a bone marrow transplant from her younger brother, Asher, who was 5 at the time.
“He understood that he was helping but I don’t think he understood how much,” their mother said.
Claire was in remission until a month ago when cancer returned. Because of a genetic mutation called FLT3, her parents knew that there was a good chance the cancer could come back.
A Camden Middle school girl is fighting an aggressive form of #Leukemia for the second time. She’s at @WolfsonChildren undergoing #chemo treatments. How the school is rallying for Claire and the ways you can show your support TONIGHT on @wjxt4. #ChildhoodCancer pic.twitter.com/AexHfG7UCI— Brittany Muller (@BrittMullerNews) October 4, 2020
“At five years is when they tell you that there’s a lot less likelihood of it coming back, and then we were almost 5 years. We were at 4½ years,” Bordelon said.
Claire’s relapse came last month during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
Claire is a seventh-grader at Camden Middle. Principal Heath Heron has known Claire since she was in kindergarten when he was the principal at Matilda Harris Elementary School.
'Her true grit determination is unbelievable," Heron said. “She is a true fighter and I’m confident that she’s going to beat it just as she did the first time.”
From the cheerleaders to the softball and football teams, they are showing their support with stickers.
“They’re wearing ribbons to support Claire,” Heron said.
Claire’s mother says it makes her feel very loved and excited to go back to school. The Bordelon family is grateful to have the positivity and support.
“When you’re thrown into the cancer world, nobody wants to be part of that, but once you’re there you can’t do anything to change it except just fight as hard as you can and be there for her, but you learn really quick there’s good and bad and you have to keep seeing the good in everything and we just really appreciate the community support,” Bordelon said.
While Claire is in the hospital, only her mom and dad can visit because of visitation restrictions during the pandemic. Bordelon said her daughter likes to draw cartoon characters with an injury or medical condition.
“I think she has a heart for people that are different,” Bordelon said. “She’s been bullied (about) a few things having to do with her cancer, like her hair coming out.”
Camden Middle School is selling ribbons to raise money where you can buy them at the school’s front desk. They range from $2-5. There is also a GoFundMe if you would like to help with Claire’s medical expenses.