I want to share the story of a 9-year-old boy filled with laughter and love, Coleman, diagnosed with Leukemia (ALL) in April of this year.Even during his initial stay in the hospital, when he and his parents were anxious and filled with uncertainty, he won over every member of the hospital staff with his love of VERY corny jokes and his infectious laughter. Even when sick from chemotherapy, he flashes his grin and tries to find some kind of humor to distract himself and those around him.You would be hard pressed to find any child that age whose goal is to bring a smile to someone else’s face with what he is going through.
Parents Lisa and James, have been with him, standing strong, at every hospital stay and clinic visit.He first started complaining of back pain early in the year and at first it was thought to be related to a fall he had taken in January.After countless visits to their doctor and emergency room, they ended up at the Children’s Hospital of Savannah where they were told that Coleman was exhibiting signs of leukemia. They went from being a quiet family who loved to spend their time grilling out at their home, attending church, and occasionally visiting family in Florida, to constantly having to drive 2.5 hours to spend countless hours in Savannah so that Coleman could receive the treatment he needs.In the midst of a daunting new diagnosis, Lisa and James had to help him learn how to take medications by mouth… Coleman’s absolute nemesis!You can find Lisa in the chair at his bedside every night during an admission, and James trading out from the couch to the chair in the morning after his quick trip to the kitchen get some coffee.
For Christmas this year Coleman is just hoping for “lots of presents.”.He also is a huge fan of the Avengers and Batman, loves playing video games and building things on his phone, watching movies and cartoons. He sometimes talks of one day being a cop, a firefighter, or maybe a professional painter.
Lisa and James would truthfully just love some serious rest and a break from housework and long drives to and from Savannah, so I know they would be so grateful for a few gift cards to help out with everyday thing and often swing through fast food near the hospital or a quick stop to enjoy the treat of Donato’s Pizza or Cracker Barrel.
Every year I am amazed at the generosity of The River and their compassionate listeners.I wish you could all meet Coleman and enjoy his infectious laugh as payment for all you do for each and every one of the families you help each and every holiday season.You make such a difference in their lives, and our staff at the Dwayne and Cynthia Willet Children’s Hospital at Memorial can never thank you enough for bringing some extra sunshine to these well deserving families.
Warmest wishes to you all,
Erin Jones, RN, BSN
Clinical Nurse Coordinator Memorial Health
Dwaine & Cynthia Willett Children’s Hospital of Savannah