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Jaimie Senger, Brainerd teen facing leukemia dies

A Brainerd teen whose experiences with childhood cancer were documented with the Brainerd Dispatch has died. Jaimie Senger, 18, died Tuesday afternoon after developing a rare complication associated with the stem cell transplant she received to t...

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Wearing a "Battle of Lady J" T-shirt, Jaimie Senger smiles in a portrait taken this summer, just before her second round of chemotherapy to treat her acute myeloid leukemia. The photo was taken by nonprofit Flashes of Hope. Submitted photo

A Brainerd teen whose experiences with childhood cancer were documented with the Brainerd Dispatch has died.

Jaimie Senger, 18, died Tuesday afternoon after developing a rare complication associated with the stem cell transplant she received to treat her leukemia, her mother Carolyn Reller confirmed.

"Jaimie was surrounded by family and friends and cuddled by her loving dog Coco," Reller wrote Tuesday night on the Facebook page chronicling Jaimie's battle. "Needless to say we are all devastated beyond words."

Jaimie was first diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at age 14. After three years of treatments, she was declared cancer-free in September 2014 - only to develop a different type of leukemia eight months later. This type - acute myeloid leukemia - was a secondary cancer, one Jaimie likely developed as a result of chemotherapy drugs taken to eliminate the first type.

Jaimie spent her summer of 2015 in the hospital receiving cancer treatments, and in August, received a stem cell transplant. Two weeks after the transplant, a preliminary biopsy showed no indication of leukemia in Jaimie's bone marrow, which had been replaced successfully by the donor cells.

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Just before Jaimie's planned move to a Ronald McDonald House near the University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital, she began to have trouble breathing. Doctors diagnosed the teen with idiopathic pneumonia syndrome, a condition affecting 6 percent of youth stem cell transplant patients.

Nearly a month later, after various attempts by doctors to treat the condition about which little is known, Jaimie lost her life.

Reller said a celebration of life for Jaimie will take place Saturday and further details will be included in the teen's obituary. A story on the event and the memories shared by friends and family of Jaimie will appear in Monday's Brainerd Dispatch.

Chelsey Perkins is the community editor of the Brainerd Dispatch. A lakes area native, Perkins joined the Dispatch staff in 2014. She is the Crow Wing County government beat reporter and the producer and primary host of the "Brainerd Dispatch Minute" podcast.
Reach her at chelsey.perkins@brainerddispatch.com or at 218-855-5874 and find @DispatchChelsey on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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