CANYON, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — For the Melugin family, the past five years have been full of trials and tests as they face sickness and loss. Now, despite a second child being diagnosed with cancer, they are clinging to their faith in God.
Reeve, aka Super Reeve, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia just before his second birthday. After three-and-a-half years of treatment, he rang the cancer bell in January of 2021.
Jordan and Brenna Melugin thought their children’s cancer fight was over. Then, a year and a half later, Reeve’s twin sister Isla was diagnosed.
“Isla started getting sick back in the spring, really, probably March or April, and spent some time in the hospital trying to figure things out and ended up in the hospital and figured out in June, that she was diagnosed with the exact same type of cancer that Reeve had,” said Brenna, Isla’s mother.
Initially, they were told Isla was not at an increased risk for cancer, but time has proven the twins’ cancer is genetically linked.
“We’ve been through so much in five years and we lost my dad in September of ’21,” said Jordan. “And you just kind of get over that and then here we are, again, walking down this road…”
When asked about her reaction to Isla’s diagnosis, Brenna said, “I think disbelief was probably the first one that I felt like, my emotion was like, are we really going through this again?”
Luckily, Isla’s survival rate is high and should be the same as Reeve’s. But at seven years old, she understands all too well what difficulties lie ahead.
Brenna said while there are some benefits to Isla’s age as she goes through cancer treatment, it also comes with plenty of emotional challenges.
“Reeve was a little bitty boy that didn’t know any different. He didn’t know he lost his hair. He didn’t know you know what he was up against,” Brenna added. “Isla is a highly intelligent little girl. So she has a lot more questions.”
“You know, being a little girl and losing your hair and knowing that you’re going to be bald—there’s just a lot more emotional things to being a little girl and dealing with some of the side effects and having some of those questions as an older child, versus a young rambunctious little boy that didn’t know any different,” she continued. “
Isla choked back tears when asked how she felt about her diagnosis.
“If I lose my hair, I’m still gonna be beautiful and I’m still gonna be perfect,” she said. “No matter what I do, I’m gonna be okay.”
At this point, Brenna said their doctors do not believe anyone else in the family, including their oldest daughter Mazie, is at risk.
“You look at that, look at your brother and sister and think, ‘Well, am I next?’ and so we’ve had to do some talking with Mazie and just let her know that, you know, she’s going to be okay and that it’s not going to happen to her,” said Brenna. “But she also has got to watch her brother and sister go through it and also know—we all have to know—that whatever happens, that it is going to be okay. And that no matter what happens to us, that we can make it through and we can survive it.”
If you ask the Melugins how they have gotten through the last five years, they will tell you about their faith in God and how it has changed their mindset.
Jordan even serves as a worship pastor at their church.
“I have the privilege of processing pain and going through things privately. I have to get up on a platform every week and continue to lead going through these things. And, you know, I would be lying if I said that I haven’t had my own doubts and questions and been angry,” he said.
“But one of the things that I love about our church and the community that we’re part of, is that we don’t shy away from those things and that we have this opportunity to be real and to be transparent,” Jordan continued, “And one of the great things my pastor has told us and we talked about a lot—it’s okay to feel pain, but we can’t stay in that place. And so that’s really where I’ve tried to lead from even is, I’ve experienced pain. But I want to help show people that no matter what you’re going through, you can still worship, you can still pray. You can still do these things because it doesn’t change the fact for us that we believe God is a good God.”
Brenna said they are focusing on the positives through it all.
“The word that God has told us over and over and over is perspective. We know that we have two children that have been diagnosed with cancer and people look and are like, ‘How can you make it through that? How can you survive? You know that, how can you deal with that?'” she said. “But we also look at other families. They’ve lost their kids to cancer and we have to be thankful. You have to choose thankfulness in those seasons too.”
Jordan and Brenna have said time and again, they could not get through it all without support from the community.
“They have again reached out to us, like you said, through meal trains, prayers, support,” Brenna said. “Children’s Miracle Network has reached out and helped us out. They were at our doorstep, phone call, you know as soon as they knew that Isla was diagnosed. This community rose up around us once again through supporting us.”
From start to finish, Isla’s treatment should last about two years and started this fall.
“We’ve got a long road ahead of us for sure but each phase should get a little bit easier,” said Brenna. “So she starts another phase at the end of October, but should be done in 2024 with chemotherapy, and then that point should be considered cured.”
She continued, “The nice thing about Isla, she’s considered low-risk where Reeve was high-risk, so her chemo should be about half as intense and half the amount of time that Reeve had to do chemo.”
Isla, now known as Super Isla, is confident she will get through it, just like Reeve did.
Facing the camera, with a microphone in hand, she shared a message to others saying, “This is Super Isla. All the kids out there, if you’re diagnosed, that you can make it through even cause your family and Jesus is always beside you, with you wherever you go. Thank you.”
All proceeds go to Isla and her family for medical expenses.
The Melugins also have a medical fund at Amarillo National Bank under #SuperReeve.