Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia: Reese’s Story


Reese loves soccer. And soccer helped to save Reese’s life.

On a Friday night, September 13, 2019, Reese was playing in a soccer game. He remembers that the whole game was a little rough. A sharp tackle brought him to the ground and he landed awkwardly on the back of his head. Reese passed all the concussion protocols, and checked in with the concussion specialist. When Reese mentioned to the doctor that he also had neck issues, that his lips had gone blue, and that he had been fatigued, the specialist quickly realized that something else was going on and referred Reese to a pediatrician.

After a battery of tests at Stony Brook Children’s Emergency Department, Reese was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Thanks to that head injury Reese could start treatment immediately, which Reese’s mom, Jaimi Tiller, felt was divine intervention, “otherwise I don't know how long it would have taken for us to realize that something was really wrong.”

“In the beginning, the treatments are very intense. We spent ten days in the hospital and treatment started immediately. But everyone just walked us through everything that was going to happen. Now we have Dr. Laura Hogan, who has a way about her of just telling you like it is. And to us that is super important.”

For Reese his weekly visits to Stony Brook are nearly over. “I'm finally nearing the end of my treatment. I've been undergoing chemotherapy since September of 2019. I'm in my maintenance phase and we're coming to the end. I'm ecstatic.”

Reese looks back at his time in the hospital, “Stony Brook Children's Hospital treated me as a patient first, but most importantly, as family, and I'll never be able to forget that. I do feel like they changed my life, and they’ve changed my outlook on life, probably for the rest of my days.”