Isabella's Letter - Christmas Wish 2023

Dear Mark,

As a pediatric oncology nurse, I have the privilege of meeting the most amazing children and families. Today, I am writing to tell you about one special 8-year-old whose name is Isabella, who earlier this year was diagnosed with B-Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia.

Isabella’s parents told us that their only child rarely complains, even when she is feeling under the weather. So, when their sweet little girl told her mom and dad that her bones ached, they knew something just wasn’t right.

Their worst fears came true when Isabella was diagnosed with leukemia. But this precious child has not stopped fighting.

Since she received her life-changing news, Isabella has spent countless days in the Children’s Hospital or clinic undergoing all kinds of scary sounding procedures -- blood draws, lumbar punctures, chemotherapy, blood transfusions, and various other treatments that no child should ever have to experience. Because Isabella’s illness has nearly robbed her of her immune system, she doesn’t live the life of a normal 8-year-old. Any time she comes down with a fever, she must immediately go to the Children’s Hospital of Savannah.

 We see Isabella weekly in the clinic for chemo. When her treatment first started, Isabella was shy, but it wasn’t long for her to warm up to every member of her treatment team. Now, whenever she comes into the clinic for appointments, she greets everyone with a big, warm hug. She loves to visit the nurses’ station to check on us and make sure WE are ok.

As you can tell, Isabella is spunky, has unmatched energy and laughs easily, despite her situation.  Unfortunately, she has had an especially difficult time with chemotherapy. She gets very anxious and always needs a hand to hold. Chemo has numerous side effects, including nausea, and Isabella becomes extremely nauseous every time she has chemo. She is sometimes sick to her stomach for days.

Even through all of this, Isabella most always has a sweet smile on her face and never complains. She always tries to check on other kids in the clinic and worries when she hears others crying. She has the biggest heart and cares so much for everyone around her, even if it’s a patient she has recently met. 

When she feels up to it, Isabella enjoys painting, cooking, playing outside and, most of all, spending time with her family. Her favorite TV show is “Good Luck Charlie” and she adores anything pink and purple. The one thing Isabella is hoping for this Christmas is a Barbie Dream House because she absolutely loves Barbies.

Isabella’s parents work full time and it’s very hard for them to spend almost every day in the clinic, but they somehow make it work for their precious child. Though Isabella’s mom and dad would never ask, I know that they would appreciate gift cards to some of their favorite stores and restaurants. They like Target, Best Buy, McDonald’s and The Olive Garden, and I’m certain that a chance to shop or dine out and escape the real world this Christmas would mean the world to them.

While I was taking care of Isabella recently, we were talking about her birthday, which is in December. She said, “I hope I’m not still sick on my birthday this year.” And, Mark, I’m hoping that with your listeners’ generosity, even though Isabella will still be “sick,” she will have the best birthday and Christmas yet!

Warm Wishes,

Mary Crider

Pediatric Oncology Nurse

Memorial Health

Dwaine & Cynthia Willett Children’s Hospital of Savannah


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