In June 2015 just two weeks shy of her fourth birthday, Isabella was diagnosed with cancer. She had to stay in the hospital for 15 days. When a child is diagnosed, many times they don’t get to go home immediately. The entire family is thrust into this foreign world, not knowing the language, and trying to find your way out of this nightmare.
Fortunately for Isabella and the children who are treated at The Bernard & Millie Duker Children’s Hospital Melodies Center, there are many different professionals who help. A child and their family will initially meet their oncologist, who essentially becomes like a part of their family. Then there is the child life specialist and the social worker who acclimate everyone to this new world, and the nurses who not only help with treatments, but soothe and encourage. Within a day or two of getting diagnosed, a family receives Nick’s Fight to be Healed Family Hope Bag, filled with essentials just in case of a situation like Isabella’s.
You meet so many people on a cancer journey that it’s hard to keep track. Isabella’s parents felt it was very important to keep life as normal as possible for their daughter. They have kept their family and friends close and have utilized support groups. Getting involved with Nick’s Run to be Healed with Isabella being 2016’s Nick’s Warrior has given them another connection to amazing and supportive community members. They explain that it’s important to remember to enjoy and embrace all the little things in life and to celebrate and create as many wonderful memories with your family. Sometimes life gets so hectic, Isabella reminds us that at any time, our lives can change.
Her family believes that staying positive and keeping routines help make every day feel “normal.” It’s OK to cry, scream, yell, laugh, smile, and enjoy life. It’s all part of the journey.
They know firsthand that cancer can turn your life upside down, now matter your age. When you watch a child go through treatments, pokes, scans, and take numerous medications, it makes you realize how strong they are. Isabella’s parents want others to know that kids are resilient and thrive on the positivity and love around them. Cancer doesn’t define them. It is only one piece of what makes each one of our children extra special.
If you want to join Isabella for Nick’s Run to be Healed 5K, it’s on Sunday, September 25. Her team is Bella’s Believers. Go to www.fighttobehealed.org for more info.