Allistaire Kieron Anderson lived six tumultuous, bright, brutal, giddy years. In the early morning hours of April 30, 2016, our beloved, wild cat of a girl suddenly became still and that beast, Acute Myeloid Leukemia, finally extinguished her life. Her far too short life was replete with both scarcity and abundance. Being diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia at just 21 months old radically changed the course of Allistaire’s life. She lived within the confines of Seattle Children’s Hospital over 500 days and was separated from home and family for nearly three years in total. The fight for her life required twenty-three rounds of chemotherapy, multiple courses of focal radiation, genetically-modified T-cell therapy and two bone marrow transplants. In the midst of this battle her body faced numerous infections and severe heart failure.
Yet, Allistaire was formed of ferocity. She came from the womb with a furrowed brow, with a tenacity and determination that carried her through multiple occasions where the doctors advised she could not survive. But Allistaire’s life was not simply one of survival against great odds; hers was also a life of abundance. While her strength and feisty spirit were a magnetism that drew people to her, above all, it was her laughter and joy, her ever entreating you into play that bound your heart to her. As doctors would fill her room for rounds, she lay giggling under the blanket, intent that you believe dragons had come and eaten her up. How many times were nurses to be found gathered around her participating in imaginary tales of wounded unicorns and princess mermaid fairies with magical medicines?
Allistaire’s life was an explosion of color; no image was given but one color when the full rainbow could be applied. And why just one color of nail polish or one glittering lip gloss when a myriad might be enjoyed? And boy did that girl love to dance. Whether soft and beautiful or hard core, music seemed an outward expression of her soul within. Allistaire always wanted music – walking the halls on the Cancer Unit with her IV pole and music blaring from her iPad, making the AMR medics laugh with her dancing at U.W. for radiation, in the car, while coloring – always music. While Allistaire was slow on the playground due to a weakened heart, her quick wit, extensive vocabulary and intelligence surpassed her years. She also possessed a very tender, gentle and caring heart where the wounds of her life must have carved an uncanny empathy.
Cancer may have stolen much, yet Allistaire’s life was also one full of joy simply because of who she was but also because she was surrounded by the incredible support and love of family, of friends intimate, and countless folk who never even met her but have loved her from afar. It is not too much to say that Allistaire’s life had and continues to have far reaching impact. Her story has moved the hearts of many and has pushed cancer research and care forward. As her family, we are delightedly indebted to the phenomenal research and clinical care of doctors and practitioners at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and Seattle Children’s Hospital.
We are also honored to be a part of the original three of The Bozeman 3, a trio of families all from Bozeman, all in Seattle fighting for the lives of our children against cancer. As we drew strength and camaraderie from one another, we envisioned a day when we might be a support to future families who would have to travel this same brutal road – a road that requires families to leave homes and jobs and the support of friends and family. While we grieve that more children face cancer, we are so thankful for the creation of The Bozeman 3 and ask that you would consider giving of your time and/or finances to support Gallatin County families who are forced to leave the state to seek care at a Children’s Hospital.
Our girl Allistaire was a bright spark, sandy blonde curls, bright blue eyes, curve of cheeks and a smattering of little freckles. We miss her desperately and longed to see the person she was unfurling into. We look to God for the redemption of all things and the fullness of life eternal in Christ. We love you little sweets!