Dear Mark & 98.7 Listeners,
I would like to share a special story about Samira, a 19- month-old little girl whose smile can light up the room. However, that smile wasn’t always there. In June of this year, Samira’s family learned that she had Pre-B Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. While Samira usually loves to play outside with her brother and sister, those days became more limited due to the treatment endured during recent months. Instead of playing outside, Samira has spent several months receiving chemotherapy treatments in the hospital, undergoing medical procedures, and learning to live a “new normal” daily routine. In total, she will undergo three years of treatment in her battle against this disease/
While at first Samira was shy and scared as any child would be when they have encountered what Samira has in her short life. But, over time she was warmed up to the staff at the clinic and the hospital. Now, those that see her would tell you she is very friendly and full of energy. She has learned to make herself comfortable when she is here. That includes playing with the toys and with the staff. Nothing warms our hearts more than a smile on Samira’s face!
At home, her mom says she loves being the boss of her brother and sister. They all love going to the playground and going for walks together. Samira LOVES all toys. She especially loves dolls and toys that light up and make noise. Although Samira is not in school yet it is obvious she is learning a lot from all the toys she is playing with. Samira’s 4-year-old sister Marcia also loves dolls and any toys she can learn from. Her 3-year-old brother Corey also loves learning toys. As a boy, of course he likes toys that light up and make lots of noise.
Their favorite thing to do is play outside together although that is a bit harder these days with Samira’s treatment. Her treatment has not only limited her outside time; it has also resulted in her being away from her siblings while she has been in the hospital. Samira’s treatment has been difficult on the family.
Her mom is a single mom of three children. She works night shift at a local store. To help, Samira’s grandmother has come for an extended time from out of town to allow her mom to continue to work. In addition, this has allowed one adult to be home with the Samira’s siblings while Samira has had to be at the hospital for treatment.
The family does not have a car so they have to rely on public transportation to come to their treatment which is two hours round trip. Both Samira’s mother and her grandmother have shared in the responsibility of bringing her for her treatment to the hospital and clinic. It would be wonderful to be able to treat them and the rest of the family to a meal at their favorite restaurants Old Time Buffet and KFC.
It is challenging when any family member is treated for cancer, but this family has done it with grace. They say they have learned to “always count their blessings one day at a time”. Thank you to the generosity of your listeners for anything that they can help with for this sweet family.
Pediatric Outpatient Social Worker
Dwayne & Cynthia Willett Children’s Hospital of Savannah
at Memorial University Medical Center
Photo: Getty Images