Geaux Hero: 4-year-old Leukemia Patient Gets Expert Care at Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital  

Jan 18, 2024 | Patient Stories

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In January 2023, Destiny O’Bryan was starting to worry about her daughter. At 3 years old, Ahnalyse Choplin wasn’t much of a napper, but suddenly the once-energetic toddler was taking four to five naps a day. After checking her temperature and finding a fever of 104 degrees, Destiny brought Ahnalyse to their pediatrician in Lafayette. 

Her doctor felt Ahnalyse’s swollen stomach and spleen area and suggested they take her to the emergency room immediately for blood work. After a week of testing and multiple blood transfusions, she was transferred to Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital in Baton Rouge, where a bone marrow biopsy revealed acute lymphoblastic leukemia. 

This type of cancer starts in the bone marrow, where it can easily spread through the blood to other parts of the body, such as the lymph nodes, liver and spleen. 

Because of Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital’s close affiliation with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Ahnalyse’s care team can collaborate directly with researchers there on state-of-the-art cancer treatments. 

Ahnalyse was soon transferred to St. Jude in Memphis, Tennessee, for several weeks of intensive chemotherapy treatment before returning to Louisiana and continuing her treatment close to home at the Children’s Hospital under the care of pediatric hematologist oncologist Kacie Sims, MD. 

Now 4 years old, Ahnalyse has maintained her big smile and cheerful personality as she continues weekly chemotherapy by a medic port as well as daily chemotherapy pills. 

Destiny says her daughter has taken her treatments in stride and still lights up the room with her energy. She keeps herself occupied with music (like Laney Wilson and Jelly Roll) and, as Destiny says, she “loves playing with her dogs and Barbies — and Barbies that come with dogs.” 

“She’s a very sassy and very happy child,” Destiny says. “You couldn’t ask for a better child.” 

While Destiny says Ahnalyse’s leukemia diagnosis has put her young life on hold while she continues treatment for at least another two years, they are incredibly thankful for the pediatric cancer care she’s received at the Children’s Hospital and being able to stay close to home. 

“She loves all the nurses at the hospital, that’s for sure,” Destiny says. “They have become like another family for her as well.” 

Ahnalyse also enjoys the visitors who stop by the Children’s Hospital regularly, such as the LSU soccer and gymnastic teams. 

Ahnalyse is being honored as one of Our Lady of the Lake’s Geaux Heroes, which recognizes incredible stories of strength and resilience. She and her mother Destiny, father Devin and older sister Emma are being recognized at the LSU Gymnastics meet on January 19.    

    Learn more about Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital as well as the pediatric care we offer throughout our healthcare system.

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