I have the absolute honor to write you and your listeners about a real life Superhero! I want you to get to know “Philip”, a 3-year old little boy who has had an incredibly difficult year. It all started in December of 2021 when “Philip” was having trouble with what appeared to be constipation, however, labs & other tests then led his medical team at The Children’s Hospital in Savannah to discover a rare brain tumor. For over 5 months, he lived in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and unfortunately lost his ability to talk, walk, or do anything for his self. His parents, “Phil & Anna Maria”, were always present at his side to be such strong advocates for his care. Given the aggressive nature of his tumor, our team began chemotherapy and with each cycle he suffered set back after set back. At times, we were concerned for what his outcome might be, but remained ever hopeful he would recover. His parents love, devotion and hope never wavered during this time of uncertainty – it was inspiring and very moving. Following his intensive inpatient chemotherapy, he had to receive a special form of radiation provided in Atlanta. The family spent 30 days isolated from friends and family during this time where he received daily sedations for his brain radiation. In true fashion, his family made the most of this hardship and truly soaked up each moment of togetherness. In the fall of this year, we all rejoiced and celebrated when he reached his end of chemotherapy party. We gathered as a team and had a large parade out of the PICU which they had come to know as their second home this year. Sadly, only a few short months later on follow up scans, it was determined his cancer had spread to his spine. His family hadn’t even had a moment to process what had happened over the course of the year, and now were forced to start all over. Super Philip and his parents, Phil and Anna Maria, jumped right back into this battle ready to continue this fight. This time a stem cell transplant will be needed for best success with his cancer treatment.
Despite all of the hardships he has endured, Phil’s “never met a stranger” personality rings true each time you meet him. He is working aggressively with all therapy teams in regaining his speech, ability to walk and do special tasks. He is always so full of smiles, loves to give high fives, knuckles and blows all the kisses to those he meets. He brings true joy to all those he encounters. Phil lives at home with both parents, his 5 -old sister, his dog Ralphie & cats, Harper and Allie. His favorite movies are Wizard of Oz, Bolt & Moana. His family was so moved that they were nominated to be a Christmas Wish family this year. They have been so grateful for the community support over the past year, as they know this battle wouldn’t have been possible without the help from others.They look forward to a day when they can give back to someone else in need. For Christmas, Philip would love more Magnatiles, blocks, or a motorized scooter/motorcycle. His sister could use some new shoes, a toy kangaroo, or any fun outdoor adventure experiences. Philip and Anna Maria are ever hopeful Phil will get to spend Christmas in their real home this year for Santa to come visit him there. Last year was spent in the hospital awaiting a final diagnosis for his tumor, so they truly wish to wake up in their own home. When they have free time, the family shops at Kroger, Publix, Lowes, Amazon and Ace Hardware. They love to sneak a dinner out when given the chance to Cahills, Hudsons, The Wyld, Chive, or Cotton & Rye. In the midst of this trying year, Phil and his family have always shown hope, love and gratitude during even the most trying times. Philip and his family are in this together and truly need others to join in on this fight to lessen the burden.
Words will never be able to convey how impactful Christmas Wish is for our patients and their families. You and your listeners not only provide financially in a time where things are sometimes impossible, but also show love and support to those who need it the most. Thank you for the enormous generosity shown by you and your listeners throughout the years.It truly makes a difference and is ever so much appreciated.
With eternal gratitude,
Pediatric Oncology Nurse Navigator
Dwaine & Cynthia Willett Children’s Hospital of Savannah