Pray For Lindsey: The Wintzinger Sisters' Story

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*Auburn Media Relations*
The Tigers' senior setter had a lot on her mind. She had just finished the Auburn volleyball team's third practice of the preseason - the first workout on the second day of two-a-days. She had orientation for pharmacy school coming up the following Tuesday. And with another practice just three hours away, forgive her if all she wanted to do was take a quick nap.

So she turned her phone on silent and dozed off in the early afternoon on Friday, Aug. 9.

Lindsey Wintzinger had been dealing with a sore throat for about three weeks. It just wouldn't go away. Earlier that week, Chelsea's younger sister - by two years - had noticed some bruises on the back of her leg. And with just a week to go before school started, she knew she had to get it checked out.

Mono was her first thought. It's relatively common on university campuses. She wouldn't be the first freshman to catch it, after all.

"That's what they thought it was at first," Lindsey and Chelsea's teammate, senior Katherine Culwell, said. "And that's understandable. You get sick so much easier living in close quarters with new people."

So Lindsey's mother took her to the doctor in their hometown of Huntsville.

Finally, Chelsea's parents were able to get through to her.

"I was in the middle of my nap and I had my phone on silent," she said. "I woke up in the middle to check my phone, and I noticed I had about five missed calls from my dad. So I called him back."

Lindsey had leukemia.

At the time, the doctors couldn't say conclusively that it was leukemia, but they were 90 percent sure. The extremely high white blood cell count - higher than strep, higher than mono - indicated that her body was fighting off something far from routine.

"It took Lindsey a second to understand, and then she just started crying," Chelsea said. "My family initially took it really hard. Right then, they took her to Huntsville Hospital."

After a night's stay in Huntsville, the Wintzingers decided to take their youngest daughter to Memphis - to St. Jude. She was admitted immediately and underwent a battery of tests.

Soon enough, the staff at St. Jude confirmed that Lindsey indeed had acute myeloid leukemia, or AML. It's the most common type of acute leukemia in adults. According to the National Cancer Institute, treatment should begin immediately upon a confirmed diagnosis.

So Lindsey started chemotherapy right away.

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