Dear Mark and 98.7 Listeners,
It is my honor to share with you what I have learned about Rosslin, a sweet 21-year-old woman who has faced significant adversity that began when physicians discovered she had a brain tumor at age nine. Treatment for her initial diagnosis involved surgery and radiation therapy. Six months later, Rosslin lost the majority of her vision. Tragically, she has now been diagnosed with a secondary cancer -- a type of bone cancer called chondroblastic osteosarcoma -- likely caused by her prior radiation therapy. Rosslin’s path forward will be immensely challenging, with aggressive, inpatient chemotherapy and complex, invasive surgery. She will also be permanently blind. Rosslin worries about her future, the effects of her treatment, and whether it will be effective, but her beautiful spirit remains intact.
I have spent enough time with Rosslin and her mother, Elizabeth, to witness their virtuous and humble nature. Still, I think a more comprehensive picture of her would include the opinions of the dedicated nurses who have cared for her during her inpatient hospital stays. One describes her as the “perfect patient.” All speak of Rosslin’s infectious laugh, her beaming smile, and her concern that asking for their help will bring them hardship.
Elizabeth confirms what Rosslin’s caregivers have quickly come to understand about her: she is always happy and smiling, always considering the needs of others above her own, always sharing with her two sisters. Rosslin’s selflessness is so considerable that when she learned of her accumulating medical bills, it was her wish to decline further treatment to avoid burdening her family.
Rosslin, her mother, and her sisters are a close, loving family. They enjoy talking and sharing, eating meals together, watching TV and eating popcorn, and practicing Zumba. Elizabeth loves to give her girls manicures. The family shops at T.J. Maxx, Walmart, and Ross, and they dine at Applebee’s, Texas Roadhouse, or wherever Rosslin can eat her favorite dish, pupusas. Rosslin delights in making bracelets, watching TikTok videos, and listening to bachata and reggaeton music.
When I first explained to Rosslin about 98.7’s Christmas Wish program and how generous donors would like to give her the Christmas of her dreams, she asked for only one thing: pajamas. After some brainstorming, along with gentle nudging on my part, Rosslin agreed that she would cherish luxuries that might normally prove too costly for her family: comfortable bedding, soft house slippers, a speaker for listening to her music, and an iPhone 14 so she can enjoy the music and TikTok videos she loves so much.
Her 16-year-old sister Charlize hopes for a hoodie and non-fiction books, and her 14-year-old sister Sherly dreams of Arianna Grande perfume, skin and hair care products, and make-up. It seems Rosslin’s humbleness is inherited, because when I asked Elizabeth what she might like, she told me “a mop.” With a little encouragement, she requested items for their house: cookware and coffee cups. With yet a little more encouragement and emphasis on something for her, Elizabeth shyly asked for Versace perfume.
Thank you, Mark and 98.7, for allowing me the opportunity to offer this brief glimpse of Rosslin and her family. Thank you, listeners of 98.7, for your thoughtful consideration of this most deserving family.
Erin L. Borchert, LMSW
Pediatric Oncology Social Worker
Memorial Health Dwaine & Cynthia Willett Children’s Hospital of Savannah