The athletic student was in disbelief when she discovered that the innocent-looking spots on her skin were symptoms of a life-threatening disease. She first noticed the freckle-like spots appearing on her body after getting back from a basketball practice. Few hours later, the spots on her skin increased in size and were scattered across her body, covering her arms and legs. The young woman thought that the spots were bruises from the sport, but decided to go to the hospital to get checked. She went to the hospital, where blood tests showed her blood levels were extremely low.
The 20-year-old woman from Iowa, Helaina Hillyard, said that she first noticed the freckle-like spots appearing on her body after getting back from basketball practice one evening in November 2021, the New York Post reports.
Unfortunately, few hours later, the spots on her skin increased in size and were scattered across her body, covering her arms and legs.
The young woman thought that the spots were bruises from the sport, but decided to go to the hospital to get checked.
Luckily, she went to the hospital, where blood tests showed her blood levels were extremely low. The medical personnel reportedly told her that the dots on her skin were petechiae, spots that appear as a result of internal bleeding, per reports.
The 20-year-old student was transferred to another hospital where she saw an oncologist and was diagnosed with B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia – blood cancer.
According to the health officials, B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia is a type of leukemia that affects one’s white blood cells that grow in the bone marrow.
Hillyard, who was feeling fit and well, said that the only symptoms of her life-threatening illness were the strange dots.
Helaina Hillyard reportedly said: “I was in disbelief and shock. I could have nearly died if I waited a few more hours to go to the doctor. The doctor in the ER said I was extremely lucky I hadn’t played basketball since that day because I could have easily suffered a brain bleed or internal bleeding. I never in a million years could think something like this could happen to anyone in my life let alone myself.”
The student also said that she immediately started treatment with blood transfusions and chemotherapy, which she currently receives every 10 days.
Helaina shared her story on her social media account, showing videos of the dots on her skin, followed by her eventual admission to hospital.
She also said that she wanted to share her story in the hopes of raising awareness.
“I wanted to show it’s possible to try to keep a positive spin on things no matter how bleak things may seem. I received lots of different reactions.
I unintentionally scared some people -and worried some that their spots might be cancer and they reached out to me with questions. But I also received so many nice supportive messages and I couldn’t be more grateful.”