Dear Mark and 98.7 listeners,
I have the great privilege of caring for a very special little girl, and I would love to introduce her to you. Her name is Braylynn. She is a beautiful 15-month-old ball of sassiness and smiles. She loves to laugh and play with anyone who will make her the center of attention. On a normal day, Braylynn would be at home with her mom and dad, Drew and Colby, excitedly preparing for her new baby brother’s arrival. Little baby Luke will hopefully stay where he is until closer to Christmas and be born happy and healthy! To look at Braylynn in passing, you would never guess what hardships she’s already had to endure in her short life.
Braylynn’s mother carried her in to her pediatrician’s office, expecting to go home with a diagnosis of a sinus infection, and instead they came out with a diagnosis of cancer. Specifically, Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, or ALL. This diagnosis changed everything for the Hughes family. They have undergone multiple month-long stays at the hospital while Braylynn receives chemotherapy and subsequently recovers. Luckily her side effects have been minimal, but she has had to endure so many pokes, dressing changes, and even chemotherapy related mouth sores that make it difficult to eat, and her treatment isn’t over yet! Living two hours away from the hospital means that Braylynn’s dad, Colby, can’t stay with her through the week while she’s in treatment. Luckily, the wonder of cell phones means they can FaceTime, and Drew’s mom has provided non-stop support for them by staying with Drew and Braylynn in the hospital when Colby cannot be there. This family is so good at counting their blessings and trying to remain positive through this long process!
This year for Christmas, Braylynn would love to receive toys, clothes, movies, and a bean bag chair. She loves anything Minnie Mouse, Paw Patrol, Doc McStuffins, and dog related. Her favorite colors are pink, purple, and blue. When the Hughes get the chance to go shopping, they enjoy going to Walmart, Build-a-Bear, Carters, and Ric Rac Ruffle. Braylynn’s soon to arrive brother Luke still needs clothes, towels, washcloths, and a bassinet. Drew and Colby don’t ask for anything themselves, but staying in the hospital so frequently means they have to eat out often, and they enjoy picking up food from Olive Garden, Longhorn, Chick-fil-A, McDonalds, and Five Guys.
As a nurse, you get to see the whole progression of a child’s battle with cancer. Beautiful, sassy, smiley Braylynn did not start her treatment smiling at the nurses, and now she laughs and dances with us when we come to her room. She learned to walk in the hospital, and now she toddles down the hallways in her squeaky shoes, bringing smiles to all the nurse’s, doctor’s, and even to other patient’s faces! Drew and Colby want all of the listeners to know that they wouldn’t be getting through this time without God’s Blessings on Braylynn. Through their eyes they see cancer like this… “Cancer is big, but God is bigger!” For a little girl who is a light for so many, I hope we can make her Christmas as special and joyful as possible!
Erin Jones, RN
Memorial Health Dwayne & Cynthia Willet Children’s Hospital of Savannah
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