I have the joys opportunity to introduce you to a 21-month old little ray of sunshine named, Ace.But Sweet Ace is no stranger to pediatric cancer as this is second battle and he’s not even two years old yet. His mother learned when she was 38 weeks pregnant, her precious son had a tumor in his abdomen.He received chemotherapy when only days old.He responded well initially, but unfortunately in early August he developed a new tumor that required further treatment.He will receive a total of 18 months of chemotherapy, radiation, surgery & a transplant which will require collaboration with a pediatric oncology team in Atlanta.This family has a long road ahead of them.
Ace receives aggressive inpatient chemotherapy every three weeks and his devoted Mama Meryanna is with him every step of the way. She offers such comfort during his long hospital stays & is so gracious to our care team. One of the harshest realities of his diagnosis is this type of treatment changes everything in a family’s life - they are isolated and will not be able to enjoy the Christmas season with their loved ones. Because of his treatments, Ace experiences severe nausea, so that even the simplest pleasures like food and drink are no longer enjoyable for him.Despite everything he flashes smiles & blows kisses to all those that have the pleasure to care for him.His radiant joy comes through even when he doesn’t feel well.
Ace’s mother has had to learn how to provide medical care at home for her son.Each day she has to flush his central line with medications in order for it to work for his chemotherapy infusions.
Then, Meryanna must administer shots to help boost his immune system – Ace absolutely hates these daily events.It breaks his Mom’s heart every time she has to hold him down to administer this life-saving medication at home.Having no medical training before, these tasks seemed like a beast of one to tackle, but she does it because it’s what Ace needs.
Ace lives at home with his mother, father, Ramson, and 8-year-old sister, R’miyah.The family is making ends meet on Dad’s salary alone; prior to Ace’s relapse his mother was also working, so meeting household expenses has become very challenging on this reduced income.Because we are just in the beginning phases of his therapy Mom will not be able to work for quite some time.Ace’s immune system is very fragile & any infection could cause serious harm to his body.Despite all that this family is facing, they are so appreciative of the care and support they are receiving from his medical care team & community.
Ace’s mother was so moved to be considered as a Christmas Wish family for this holiday season.It wasn’t easy for her to allow us to help them, but she finally acknowledged this is a season of life where they need it & she looks forward to a time when she can pay it forward.Ace likes balls, trucks, bubbles and anything musical.He loves dancing when his dad plays piano. Mom says he would love a standing basketball toddler goal, soccer ball & net, a musical microphone, or maybe a small keyboard to play along with his dad.
Ace’s sister loves to play Roblox, so gift cards would be such an awesome gift for her! She also loves reading, so Barnes and Noble gift cards would be perfect.Ace’s parents could really use department store gift cards to help with normal household expenses, as simple things like groceries & diapers have become a hardship for them.Eating out has become a luxury to this family, so it would be a treat for them to visit places like Chick-fil-A, Applebee’s, and McDonalds. Meryanna said “our family is forever grateful to the community for their extreme kindness and generosity and for hospital staff’s hard work and passion for keeping our babies in good health and care.”
Mark, I genuinely mean it: I cannot thank your listeners enough!Each year of Christmas wish we see miracles happen.We can never repay your many kindnesses, but they are felt ever so much in the homes of some amazing families.
Pediatric Oncology Nurse Navigator
Memorial Health Dwaine & Cynthia Willett Children’s Hospital of Savannah