MISSOULA — Kimberly Peacock had spent the last 70 days in a hospital room at Denver Children's preparing for, and then recovering from a bone marrow transplant she received on May 2.
Peacock was confined to her room for the duration of her stay due to a virus she had before receiving the transplant.
But on Saturday, the Columbia Falls native was granted her freedom.
"I'm just excited to be done," Peacock told 406mtsports.com on Saturday.
Her dad Jim added: "Mentally, it was getting really hard to spend any more time in the room. Her getting released was a huge relief for everybody, especially for Kimberly. A lot of very joyous tears were shed and we're extremely hopeful that she doesn't have any setbacks that put her back in the hospital for any period of time."
Peacock, the Class A state cross country runner-up as a freshman, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia last summer, just months after she placed third in the 3,200-meter run at the state track meet.
She appeared to be in the clear over the winter after chemotherapy, radiation and other various treatments. One of those treatments — a trial at Stanford in California — came with mixed results.
After that treatment at Stanford, Peacock was in total remission. But the cells she received through that trial called Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR)-T cells — engineered cells that protect the body against cancer — weren't present, meaning Peacock was at a high risk for relapse. Because of the absence of those CAR-T cells, Peacock's team of doctors at Stanford and in Denver, Seattle and Kalispell all agreed she needed a bone marrow transplant.
"Even though this isn't the road we wanted to take, we feel it's just going to be a longer path with a few more hills. Distance runners can handle a little longer path with some challenges," Peacock's father Jim wrote to 406mtsports.com on April 21.
And there were indeed some challenges.
Peacock needed to be moved to the ICU four times during her stay due to different complications. She needed a lung biopsy after a CT scan found nodules in her lungs. Peacock also developed an infection in her brain.
On top of that, she contracted pneumonia, sepsis, mucositis, and temporary paralysis in her left leg, among other things, during her hospital stay.
"Overall, we're really happy that she's feeling a little bit better. The hospital stay was tough," Jim said on Saturday. "... She had a few complications that scared us an awful lot, but as of right now she's doing a whole lot better than she was earlier in her stay."
She has since recovered from all of those complications.
Despite the setbacks, Peacock earned a 4.0 GPA for her sophomore year — even though she couldn't physically attend many of her classes.
Peacock won't be immediately coming home to Montana just yet. She'll be spending some time at a transplant house near Denver for a while. The family is hopeful she'll be back in Columbia Falls some time in August.