Bakersfield teen needs bone marrow transplant

Local News

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — 2021 was a challenging year for so many of us. And, in the middle of it all, a local family learned their teenage daughter has cancer. Tatum DeMontmorency has been undergoing chemotherapy for months, and just when she thought she was at the finish line – a devastating setback.

“I was having really bad pain in my neck, and my lymph nodes were swollen. My neck was very stiff. I had back pain,” explained Tatum.

All signs of an active teenager, her family thought. But, a visit to the doctor would say otherwise.
“When someone says ‘you have cancer’ I immediately connect that word with dying. It was horrible, my heart sunk.”

“It’s surreal. It’s one of those things you never expect your child, you hear about it,” said Naomi DeMontmorency. “You hear about other people and children and adults cancer, but when it’s yours it hits home,” added Troy DeMontmorency.

Tatum was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). Life as this high school senior knew it was over.
“They told us right there at the hospital you have to get to L.A. as fast as you can. Get home and pack your bags and get on the road,” said Naomi.

Tatum checked into the hospital later that day and began the first of several rounds of chemotherapy days later.

“They said five rounds. If she makes it past the third round being negative, she’s going to have two more rounds and she’s done,” said Naomi.

After each round, doctors did a bone marrow biopsy to check the level of disease. But that eventually changed.

“Round 4 comes, and it was the worst round she had, like terrible sick, awful, awful, awful,” explained Naomi.

“Fortunately she didn’t end up in the PICU but still she was really, really, really sick. So she got a really bad infection. We were home for five weeks. So, she went down for round five, and about three days into it, we got the results back from the biopsy and it showed that her cancer had returned.”

“Once we found out I relapsed it was disappointing, it was heartbreaking,” said Tatum. “But, we always knew there was some small possibility that it wasn’t completely gone.”

Doctors told Troy and Naomi DeMontmorency, their little girl’s only hope of survival now is a bone marrow transplant. None of Tatum’s immediate family members is a perfect match, and a search of the worldwide registry has also run cold .Now, her parents are appealing to you to open your heart and get on the registry to possibly help Tatum or someone else in need.

“If you can save someone’s life by swabbing the inside of your cheek and that’s in your heart to do, then please do it, it’s a really simple process.”

Tatum was admitted to City of Hope on Monday for a clinical trial that will hopefully put her into remission, so she’s healthy enough to get a bone marrow transplant, when a match is found.

For more information on how to be a potential bone marrow donor, go to this website.

You can also follow Tatum’s Journey on her Facebook page “Team Tatum.”

A fundraiser for the DeMontmorencys will be held all day Thursday, Jan. 13 at all six Jersey Mike’s restaurants in Bakersfield. 20% of sales will go to directly to the family.

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