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Allison Dibble Pierce, Bone Marrow Transplant

Allison Dibble Pierce has a lot of good memories that will never fade about her time at MD Anderson. “I felt so special. The Children’s Art Project staff, child life specialists, doctors, nurses, secretaries and even a member of the custodial staff were all there for me,” she says.

Diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia (ALL) at age 10, Allison was treated and relapsed twice over the next two years, but has been cancer-free since receiving a bone marrow transplant (BMT) in 1992.

Now, 11 years after her last treatment, Allison is a graduate of Brigham Young University and has been married for four years. She lives in Provo, Utah, where she is a Child Development Specialist for Mountainland Head Start.

Allison, who dreamed of being a child life specialist after bonding with so many while at MD Anderson, says her career has taken a little different twist than she expected. Still, she is able to use many of her child life skills in her job. “The child life specialists at MD Anderson became lifelong friends I still keep in touch with,” she says.

Although the child life program made a big impact on Allison, she also benefited from the in-hospital school, college scholarships, summer camp and pedi parties and other activities. After attending Camp Star Trails — a camp for young patients and their siblings — and seeing other kids her age going through the same thing, she rediscovered her sense of humor and “learned the healing power of singing, smiling, laughter and fun.”

“I never gave up. I never knew it was an option.” Always smiling, always tenacious, that part of Allison hasn’t changed a bit.

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