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Making the end of chemotherapy special during a pandemic

Angela recently celebrated the end of her two-and-a-half-year cancer journey. The celebration was virtual and included her family in Mexico.

The end of chemotherapy can be a very exciting milestone, especially for children. Angela, who’s 8 years old, was diagnosed with leukemia in September 2019. She endured chemotherapy for two and a half years at Advocate Children’s Hospital Keyser Family Pediatric Cancer Center.

“Although it is difficult to have a child with this diagnosis, our hospital experience was very positive,” said her mother, Mary. “We felt that the staff really cared not only for Angela but also for her siblings and family. This experience has affirmed to us that there are good people in the world.”

When her treatment was over, Angela was initially hesitant to celebrate.

“She kept putting off her celebration, and at one appointment, she finally told me why,” explained Mary Butler, certified child life specialist. “She has family in Mexico and she really wanted them to be able to participate in her celebration.”

So Mary arranged for an international virtual celebration on Zoom that brought together Angela’s family in Chicago, several families in Mexico, including her grandparents – and Angela’s best friend in Indiana.

“Angela’s face lit up as she saw people she loves showing up on the screen,” said her mother. “We probably had around 20 people celebrating with us. It was such an emotional experience!”

Mary added, “Seeing Angela and her mom get so excited every time a new person joined the call was so sweet and special.”

Supporting the whole family during treatment

The Child Life, Creative Arts Therapies and Education Program at Advocate Children’s Hospital guides children and their families through the entire hospitalization process. Specialists focus on a child’s emotional and developmental needs and provide age-appropriate and therapeutic play, art therapy, music therapy, education, pet therapy and more.

“Angela particularly enjoyed anything that had to do with arts and crafts, both during hospital admissions and in the clinic,” shared her mother. “One memory that stands out is going to see a pet therapy show during one of her admissions. She enjoyed it so much even though she was terrified of dogs. Attending that show helped her overcome her fear.”

These programs and activities are only made possible through philanthropic support. Please consider making a gift today and supporting children like Angela and their families.