One day at a time: daughter of GC native bravely battles childhood leukemia

Three-year-old Aila Nesbitt (pictured), the daughter of Grundy Center native Amy (Lage) Nesbitt and granddaughter of Dave and Linda Loftus of Grundy Center, has been battling childhood leukemia for the last three months. (Photos courtesy of Nick Nesbitt) 

“It’s okay Mommy. Jesus is in my heart,” three-year-old Aila Nesbitt told her mother upon receiving the news in July.


For Amy (Lage) Nesbitt, a 2005 Grundy Center High School graduate, and her husband Nick, who now live in Grimes, their worst fears had been realized. After weeks of high fevers and lethargic behavior, a doctor informed the young parents that Aila had leukemia.


“My stomach sank, and I just kind of felt numb,” Amy said. “Nick kind of buried himself in the floor.”


But Amy, Nick, Aila, her brother Griffen, her grandparents (Dave and Linda Loftus of Grundy Center and Brad and Barb Nesbitt of Urbandale) and the rest of her family knew from the beginning that their only option was to fight. Over the last three months, she’s undergone near constant chemotherapy treatments, practically lived at the Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines and done everything in her power to inspire others.


Still, every day is a struggle. Brad and Barb, who frequently watch Griffen and Aila, haven’t traveled more than 40 miles outside of the Des Moines area since July, and routine checkups like the one a few weeks back can result in anaphylactic shock that caused her breathing to stop, her heart rate to skyrocket and her temperature and blood pressure to drop—ending with a two-day stay in the emergency room.


Through it all, though, the Nesbitts have received an outpouring of support in their current home community and both of their hometowns, Grundy Center (pop. 2,700) and Alta in northwest Iowa (pop. 1,865). Amy’s mom, Linda, has placed a donation jar at a few spots around town, but more than anything else, the family is seeking prayers and awareness during this trying time.


“(Aila) is just amazing. She’s so strong. Whatever (the doctors) need to do with her, she just deals with it,” Linda said. 


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