Dear Mark & 98.7 Listeners,
I am beyond honored to introduce you to the most joyful and spunky little boy, Rhett. Rhett is a 15-month old with Trisomy 21 and has become very familiar with the hospital setting over the past several months. In the summer of this year, Rhett’s family was concerned that he had hand-foot-mouth disease and was advised to take him to the pediatrician. Rhett’s mom also had noticed red spots on his wrist and immediately began to worry something was wrong. The pediatrician ran tests and when the labs came back, they resulted in low platelets. As they continued to figure out what was going on, the Beach family was referred to Dr. Pendleton at The Children’s Hospital of Savannah.
Dr. Pendleton completed a flow cytometry test. The family was then given the official devastating diagnosis of Trisomy 21 Associated Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). This is when the long journey began. Rhett received a bone marrow aspiration and started treatment in the beginning of August. The family was told they would spend the next 4-5 months in the hospital completing multiple rounds of chemotherapy. Rhett and Rhett’s mom, Savannah, have become no stranger to our Pediatric Specialty Unit where they spend most of their days now enduring through treatment to help cure Rhett. Rhett has been resilient through it all and brings a smile to everyone’s face each and every day. You would not know he is going through such hardship and fighting for his life.
When you think of Rhett, you see the color blue as he has the most beautiful big blue eyes that makes everyone fall in love with him. He loves watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Ms. Rachel, drumming on musical instruments, and playing with balls. On Saturdays, you can find Rhett and his mother, Savannah, cheering for the Georgia Bulldogs. Go Dawgs! While in the hospital, Rhett spends time in the playroom everyday exploring new toys, making music, and rolling around on the play mat. He loves to do footprint paintings to decorate his door and make their room feel like home.
At home, Rhett loves playing with his 3-year-old brother, Jameson, aka Bubba. They enjoy their time playing outside on their splash pad, jumping on the trampoline, and swinging on the Mickey Mouse swing set. Jameson is the most playful, energetic, and loving 3-year-old. He will give everyone he meets a hug and make them laugh. Jameson enjoys reading books with his mom, doing puzzles, and playing with dinosaurs and monster trucks. His favorite shows to watch and act out are PJ Masks and Paw Patrol. Jameson and Rhett have a sweet relationship where the majority of their time is spent playing and the other time is spent snuggling with mom and dad.
Spending months in the hospital can be very challenging, especially around the holidays. Through all of the ups and downs, Rhett’s family is very grateful for the amazing nurses, doctors, and child life team they have to make this time easier. Rhett’s parents, Savannah and Patrick, continue to work and go back and forth from the hospital to care for their family, friends, and their new home. About a month ago, the family was told they have toxic mold in their home, that they need to get rid of their belongings and move out immediately. Thankfully, they are moved into a new place and are in the process of making it feel like home. They are in need of home decor and kitchen appliances. The family typically grocery shops for all meals at Walmart, but on occasion, will go to the local Huddle House for breakfast. They shop online at Amazon and Walmart for toys and necessities. The one thing the family is hoping for this holiday season is to be out of the hospital and to celebrate Christmas at home with their family.
I am so incredibly honored to be writing this letter on behalf of Rhett and his family. Thank you Mark for sharing these stories and the 98.7 listeners for supporting our families at The Children’s Hospital of Savannah. To be able to celebrate this family is truly a gift, and I know that your community of listeners will rally behind them and help to provide them with a joyful Christmas season. This family is extra special and I know this will be a huge blessing for them this season.
Certified Child Life Specialist
Dwaine & Cynthia Willett Children’s Hospital of Savannah at Memorial Health