A GoFundMe campaign is ongoing for the Dupree family, of Grosse Pointe Park, after Kayla Dupree, right, was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia while pregnant with their son, who was born early so that Kayla could begin chemotherapy

A GoFundMe campaign is ongoing for the Dupree family, of Grosse Pointe Park, after Kayla Dupree, right, was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia while pregnant with their son, who was born early so that Kayla could begin chemotherapy

Photo provided by Brittany Pitters


Community comes together to raise money for pregnant mom fighting cancer

By: Kristyne E. Demske | Grosse Pointe Times | Published May 13, 2021

Advertisement

GROSSE POINTE PARK — A director of nurses and the wife of a local youth pastor, Kayla Dupree was pregnant with her fourth child — the first boy after three girls — when she caught COVID-19.

Thirty-five weeks pregnant, with severe symptoms and a high fever, her doctor sent Dupree, of Grosse Pointe Park, to Ascension St. John Hospital in Detroit on April 25. Doctors were concerned for the health of the baby and admitted her for observation, but when they did some routine bloodwork, they discovered that her platelets were extremely low. They continued to investigate, putting Dupree through several rounds of testing and a painful bone marrow test, before diagnosing her with acute myeloid leukemia.

Brittany Pitters, of St. Clair Shores, one of Dupree’s closest friends, said that throughout Dupree’s pregnancy, Dupree had experienced some odd bruising, rashes and itchiness. She had asked her doctor and gone to a dermatologist, but “every person that saw her just wrote it off as ... a weird skin condition related to pregnancy.” Dupree had also undergone routine bloodwork throughout her pregnancy, which hadn’t indicated any problems.

The diagnosis came as a shock. Acute myeloid leukemia is not very common, but it is much more common in men and adults age 65 and older.

“The fact for her to get it, being a young, 31-year-old female, is crazy,” Pitters said. “They told her if she delayed treatment, they would have given her months to live. There was no searching around, no second opinion.”

That’s why, on May 4, Dupree had to be induced and gave birth to her fourth child, a son named Kace, who wasn’t due until June. Because that type of cancer is aggressive, it required immediate treatment. Pitters said that if Dupree hadn’t delivered the baby early, she wouldn’t have had as great a chance of survival.

Doctors immediately put Dupree on two different types of chemotherapy: one a three-day treatment for about an hour each, and the second a seven-day treatment that runs continuously through the entire week.

Pitters said that doctors are hopeful they caught the cancer in time.

Dupree wasn’t the only one in the household to have contracted COVID-19, however. Her husband, Kevin, also had the virus and so had to be quarantined in the hospital room with her for 10 days. That left their three young children — 9-year-old Kenydee, 6-year-old Khaia and 1-year-old Kayden — with no one to care for them. The Duprees moved to Michigan from Oklahoma less than two years ago when Kevin Dupree became the youth pastor at Grace Community Church in Detroit. Kayla Dupree is from Nebraska; Kevin Dupree is from Los Angeles. Although they now live in Michigan, Kayla Dupree works remotely, full-time, as director of nurses for a hospital in Oklahoma, Pitters said.

“They had to fly in a bunch of family to help,” she said.

The cost of travel for family members, along with the medical care Kayla Dupree and Kace are receiving, as Kace is receiving treatment in the neonatal intensive care unit, plus the fact that neither Kayla Dupree nor Kevin Dupree are working right now, led Pitters to try to help.

She set up a GoFundMe page, which had raised $24,896 to help the family with expenses as of May 10.

She said the Duprees have been grateful for the nurses and staff at the hospital, who wheel Kayla Dupree, with her chemotherapy, to visit Kace. Because Kace has been on a ventilator, however, she hasn’t been able to hold him. Pitters said they are hopeful that he will be taken off the ventilator soon.

“Everyone has been so generous,” Pitters said.

To donate to the fundraiser for Kayla Dupree and her family, visit www.gofundme.com/f/kayla-dupree-and-family.

Advertisement