Casey Bardowell and her sister, Lilly (132633)

Casey Bardowell is 3 feet tall, weighs 50 pounds and is 9-years-old. She takes up to 40 medications daily because she suffers from a severe form of graft-versus-host disease, which her mother, Tracy Glasgow, says she contracted after receiving a bone marrow transplant for leukemia.

A single parent of two daughters, Glasgow told the Amsterdam News that for seven of her nine years, Casey has been in and out of area hospitals. Now, on top of her daily medicine regimen and weekly hospital schedule, the family is in dire need of a home, close to or within 90 minutes of Casey’s hospital, the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

Having to take care of her daughter is an all-day, all-night job. Hence, Glasgow had to give up her job as a secretary at Mount Vernon High School and eventually lost the family home in Middle Town, N.Y. Consequently, she ended up in not one, but two roach-infested shelters. She is staying with her aunt now, but the aunt is relocating to Georgia, so Glasgow and her two girls are desperately trying to find a home.

“I have to find a place by the end of this month, and I have been looking everywhere,” says Glasgow. “Of course, cost is a factor, because I am no longer working, but also parking and proximity to the hospital is a major consideration. I have to carry Casey and her sister, who is 8 months old, and all the daily equipment and medication, so I would like to have a place where I don’t have to keep circling the block for parking, because sometimes we get home from the hospital really late.”

Glasgow is raising her daughters by herself and has little family around her. “My aunt, Josephine Jordan, is here in the Bronx, and she has really been there for me. She has been amazing. My dad died last last year, and my mom is back in St. Lucia. But Casey’s doctor said she can’t even go to Georgia, much less St. Lucia. The heat is not good for her.”

While most New Yorkers are eagerly airing out their summer wardrobes, the anticipated heat and the sun are no friends of Casey. Her skin is so sensitive that just a little exposure to the sun can cause bumps and burns. She has to remain covered up. “She is allergic to heat and sun,” says Glasgow. “If ever you see someone driving with blankets in the window, thats me. She gets burnt. Winter is better for me.”

Glasgow describes the daily routine in her aunt’s house: “I have got to climb 25 stairs to carry Casey up stairs. She weighs 55 pounds. She was 64 pounds, but steroids stem her growth, and her weight goes up and down.”

Asked how the youngster deals with it, Glasgow notes, “Casey’s pain threshold is high, because she has been in pain since she was 2. So she is used to it. She thinks it is normal.”

While she chatters much, laughs often and is regular in so many ways like a child of her age, this little lady bears so many limitations that most grown folks would have problems handling.

Even as young as she is, Casey recognizes her mom’s efforts. “Casey always tells me, ‘Thank you, Mommy, thank you,’” says Glasgow. “‘I love you so much.’ She lifts me up so much. I am inspired by how she handles everything.”

Casey adores her little sister, Lilly, who is an 8-month-old bundle of joy. “She tells people I got her from Toys R Us,” Glasgow tells the Amsterdam News with a laugh. “They are inseparable.”

Glasgow states that in August 2007, Casey was diagnosed with “pre-B acute lymphocytic leukemia, a rare and life-threatening form of cancer.” She received a bone marrow transplant April 10, 2008.

Casey, like other such patients, underwent intense chemotherapy and blood stem cell infusion, all while having a significantly suppressed immune system. Glasgow said what followed was years of multiple monthlong stays at MSKCC and at Children’s Specialized Hospital in New Jersey.

Glasgow said that because of the graft-versus-host disease, Casey has received multiple line therapies “which have created their own devastating complications, including multiple compression fractures of her vertebrae, vision changes due to cataracts, renal insufficiency and respiratory airway disease, among other issues.”

Glasgow stated that Casey also requires a pediatric CIPAP machine overnight to maintain oxygen levels in her blood. She explains, “I have to give her water overnight through a Kangaroo pump to help her kidneys.” Casey’s condition and the medications mean that she has to learn how to walk again.

Glasgow has a glow when she speaks of her children. She shrugs off any notion of a burden. “She’s a little rock star when she goes to the hospital,” she says of Casey. “They all know her. She’s very popular, everybody knows her. God knew who he was giving Casey to. God gave me the strength.

“I did everything by myself before because I thought I could. But now, thankfully, I do have two nurses for 12 hours a day from the Maximum Nursing Agency. They are really great. Three Tuesdays out of the month, Casey has some sort of infusion. She also has physical and occupational therapy at the hospital.”

Then there are the regular checkups the blood work and the monitoring for infections.

“This is so normal for her, she is used to it,” says Glasgow. “But our biggest break came in 2014, when we started going to the hospital as an outpatient. Before that, we did a year between the two hospitals. Then she spent months and months in hospitals off and on. She would get better, come home, sometimes get sick that night and be right back in the hospital again. We stayed at the Ronald McDonald House in Manhattan for about three years, because they needed us to be close to the hospital.”

Glasgow has to administer Casey’s feeding, both orally and “liquid” milk through a gastrostomy tube. Although Casey is mostly on a liquid diet, Glasgow says she does have some favorite solid foods.

“She likes Jamaican food, sometimes she says, ‘Mommy, I don’t want your food. I want jerk chicken,’” says Glasgow.

Casey is stuck on her iPad. Glasgow says, “She watches Netflix, and loves to take photo shots of food. That is her way of eating, I think.”

Regarding Casey’s education, Glasgow noted, “Casey has a little delay, but she gets homeschooled—a teacher comes in. She doesn’t really have friends, but you should see with her sister. She is so protective.”

Glasgow is not overwhelmed by being a single mom looking after Casey and her sister, but she is overwhelmed by the amount of support she has received over the past few weeks.

“I want to thank wonderful people who helped me, like Kelly Guich and Dr. Nancy Kernan from MSKCC,” she says. “Also sweet Sally Sunshine’s parents are the ones who started the website for me. And of course Jennifer Mason, the good Samaritan who started the GoFundMe page. I want to say thank you for all the love, support, the donations.”

Glasgow concluded, “I also want to thank the foundations that have helped me this year—2015. I cannot name all of them, but ones who have gone up and beyond for me include Jacqueline Collot,; Camille Loucassino,; Dena Scarpelli-Sherwood,; Barbara Zobian,; and Dina Manzo,”

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