‘Praying for a miracle’: Ferriday 10-year-old beat cancer, now faces possibility of lung transplant

Published 1:23 pm Tuesday, February 27, 2024

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FERRIDAY, La. — Ferriday native Lilly-Anne Bryan, who will be 11 years old in May, is being evaluated for a double lung transplant in Houston, Texas.

Lilly-Anne is an active little girl who loves being outdoors, hunting, fishing and riding her horse. While she was outside riding horseback on Friday, she also had an oxygen tank hooked to her saddle, said her mother, Lacy Bryan.

Pictured are Joey, Tucker, Lilly-Anne and Lacy Bryan. (Submitted)

That’s because the girl who battled and beat cancer now faces failing lungs, thanks to the effects of chemotherapy.

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At age four, Lilly-Anne was diagnosed with neuroblastoma. She was treated for 22 months at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

“Before the cancer, she never had a symptom,” Bryan said. “We just went to get shots for Pre-K at her pediatrician and during a normal wellness checkup the nurse practitioner found the mass.”

The chemotherapy did its job to get rid of the cancer. Five years post-treatment, there is no evidence of disease. However, the treatment also did a number on Lilly-Anne’s lungs. “Since then, it has gotten worse and worse,” Bryan said.

The summer before third grade, Lilly-Anne ran a 5K marathon for St. Jude. “She finished in an hour and four minutes. She did great,” Bryan recalled.

However, Lilly-Anne got sick with the flu during Halloween 2022 and hasn’t been fine since.

Lilly-Anne Bryan, age 10, is on a constant supply of oxygen due to lung scarring from chemotherapy she had when dealing with cancer. (Submitted)

With pulmonary fibrosis — scaring of the lungs — she gets winded after walking 20 feet and is constantly hooked up to an oxygen supply.

Lilly-Anne has had double pneumonia three times and in February 2023 was diagnosed with a severe case of human metapneumovirus which put her in Our Lady of the Lake Hospital in Baton Rouge. She never fully recovered from it, Bryan said.

Until recently, Lilly-Anne was a Concordia Parish Academy student. Her dad Joey Bryan owns Bryans Marine in Vidalia and her mother was a Concordia Parish School District employee until she quit her job to care for Lilly-Anne, who is now home-schooled. She also has an older brother Tucker, who is 14.

Lilly-Anne left for Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston on Sunday to be evaluated as a candidate for a double-lung transplant, which according to her Memphis doctors is her best option. But her family is praying the new doctors in Texas will say Lilly-Anne does not need a transplant and will get better without one.

“We’re praying for a miracle,” Bryan said. “Monday was our first day here. The rest of the week is mainly sit-down discussions with doctors. They could possibly find an alternative therapy other than a transplant. If it does come to that, they say be prepared to wait here six months to a year.”

She will be home Friday this week to wait for the results.

Should Lilly-Anne be added to the transplant list, it can take three to four months to receive new lungs. Then once she goes through with the surgery there is another three to four-month recovery period at the hospital before she can return home.

All Bryan asks for is prayers.

“Prayer is the main thing,” she said. “We wouldn’t ask anyone for anything. We’re blessed. We have faith in God. We’ve seen him bring her through a lot of things. There were times when she was at St. Jude that we didn’t know if she’d make it through the night and she did. It’s not easy but we believe God is going to work it out.”