Stage four Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma interrupted Jailyne’s senior year of high school. Suddenly, in addition to a life full of classes, band practices, and preparing for college, Jailyne was forced to endure pokes, prods, and acute illness. Jailyne missed so much about the outside world. But a few things — people, really — brought Jailyne comfort when she couldn’t leave the four walls of the hospital, and later on when she lived in post-transplant temporary housing provided by HGF.
“I like the days where I get to see my favorite nurses,” Jailyne said. “I also like coming to clinic…and sometimes there’s events in the hospital, like the BMT Lock-in, where I get to interact with other people like me.”
Jailyne’s love for people who have a common experience with her has extended to her career as a college student. Despite being a self-taught artist, she is an Art major at the University of Houston, an undertaking made possible in part by a scholarship from the His Grace Foundation Holly A. Hardy Educational Support and Scholarship Fund. At the beginning of the school year, Jailyne entered her first-ever art class, Principles of Drawing. She felt intimidated and wondered if she had the same abilities as her classmates, many of whom came from Fine Arts high schools.
But as the jitters died down and the drawing began, Jailyne discovered that several other students were new to formal artistic training as well. She learned to draw human faces, and bodies in movement. And she learned how to navigate a new and scary space where joy seemed hard to find at first—just like she did during her stays on the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit.
Jailyne plans to graduate from the University of Houston with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. She hopes to have already finished her ongoing treatment at Texas Children’s Hospital by the time she walks across the stage so that she can study abroad for her master’s degree—perhaps in Spain, London, or Japan.
“Getting into college is easy, but staying in is hard,” Jailyne said. “Managing my health and school could be pretty tough at times, but I’ve learned to understand that my body is in recovery and it’s okay to take things slow sometimes. This past year at the University of Houston has given me confidence in my art and what I do, and for that I’m thankful. I’m more than just an illness and my health problems do not define me. I can do whatever I set my mind to and I know I will graduate in time and have a career doing what I love most.”