Bailie Reed is a typical teenager who talks on her cell phone, texts friends, reads and posts on Facebook, has a boyfriend and wants to attend high school prom in March.
But there’s a difference in her life and that of most other 17-year-olds -- she faces a battle, again, with cancer.
Reed was first diagnosed as a two-year-old when her mother Gwen noticed that she was not eating. Gwen said, “She was not eating like she should, hardly at all... I was worried she was not getting enough nourishment.”
Gwen took Bailie to her pediatrician and he referred them to Ochsner’s Hospital in New Orleans.
After months of waiting and “no real-term” diagnosis Gwen and Bailie took a trip to Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston.
Six months later the Reeds finally had a prognosis -- an inoperable brain tumor.
Doctors in Houston did a biopsy of the tumor and had Bailie transferred to St. Jude’s Hospital in Memphis.
Bailie and her mother stayed at the Ronald McDonald House for the next 13 months while she received intravenously chemotherapy.
Then, mother and daughter finally received encouraging news - the tumor had shrunk.
Thereafter Bailie made every three-months checkups at St. Jude’s.
When Bailie was four, the tumor started to grow again. Gwen said, “This time around, she received radiation treatments at St. Jude’s. The tumor responded and shrunk. It did not grow larger, however, it never completely disappeared.”
Bailie then got to go longer periods without seeing her doctors in Memphis. She had six-month regular checkups. For 13 years the news was always good.
That changed in January.
Gwen said, “Doctors saw a significant increase in the size of her tumor.”
Plans now are for Bailie to try a new kind of treatment. Bailie and her mother returned to St. Jude’s this week where the teenager will undergo a new chemo treatment.
She will administer by mouth chemotherapy everyday and will have to be at St. Jude’s for five weeks.
Then she’ll begin weekly visits to the hospital, Gwen said.
The Reeds are thankful for the Grizzly House facility, designed for short- term cancer patients on St. Jude’s campus, as they opted for their upcoming stay. Gwen said, “The Grizzly House is similiar to the McDonald House, only smaller.”
Bailie is a junior at Eunice High School and is currently on the homebound program.
She receives her school work and tests from one of her teachers two to four times a week.
“Her having to be away for her treatments, we got permission from Pupil Appraisal through the school board, and she is susceptible to germs with her immune system being low, this was the best solution,” said Gwen.
She currently maintains a 3.0 GPA in school.
Bailie, just a shade under five feet tall, is looking forward to becoming stronger and healthier and well enough to attend her junior prom in March.
Reserved during an interview, Bailie said she looks forward to the day that she will be in complete remission and able to lead a more-normal lifestyle.
She also added, “My faith in God, and encouragement daily given to me from my family and friends has helped me a great deal.”
With her stay away from home, and high school, Bailie says she will miss the presence of her friends and family.
Her dream after high school graduation is to attend a local college and major in a medical field of study.
She also added, “And one day, marry and start a family of my own.”
Bailie’s father Conwin lives in Homewood. She is the granddaughter of Evelyn Stringer of Eunice. She is the youngest of three children. Her siblings are Brock Reed of Eunice and Brittney Shercliff of Eunice.