Maria’s perfect day is spent outside running, playing, and soaking up the sun. But she’s equally happy inside, making people follow silly rules in her favorite board game, Quelf, and reading to her heart’s content. She does a lot more staying inside now, since her Leukemia diagnosis.
This slightly shy girl has a great sense of humor and finds the joy in all situations. Her lighthearted attitude really helps when she’s facing scary and painful treatments.
Since her diagnosis, Maria has endured a number of medical procedures, but she’s found a sense of pride in taking on each challenge. “I’m most proud of when I got my port* because it was really hard, and it hurt for almost two weeks. I didn’t know what was going to happen, but I tried to be brave.”
Embracing the Power of Music
There’s no question about how brave Maria has been, and her mom, Michele, attributes a lot of that courage to the healing power of music.
During the family’s long stays at the hospital, they eagerly awaited visits from CCA’s MyMusicRx specialists, so Maria could request and sing her favorite Disney songs. Michele says that consistent visits from the MyMusicRx team even gave Maria the confidence to sing in her sister’s high school leadership show.
A Mentor Who Understands
Maria found her own personal champion in Chemo Pal mentor, Brittany. “Brittany is my hero, because she’s gone through the same stuff as me.”
“The first time we met,” said Brittany, a cancer survivor, “Maria was a bit nervous and everything was new and scary, but I had a bag of toys! There have been days when she’s been in the hospital for so long, but still has a good attitude. Maria is definitely my hero. She has been through a lot; it’s a long journey. I know chemo is not fun and it doesn’t feel good, but she’s always so strong about it and telling jokes.”
Looking on the Bright Side
All joking aside, Maria embodies strength and fortitude beyond her years, something her mom greatly admires. “Maria is always so strong about everything. Even if it’s been a bad day of treatment or she has to have difficult procedure, she’ll be thinking of how to comfort me! She’ll say, ‘It’s okay mom, we’re going to get through it.’”
*A device temporarily inserted into a patients’ body to help easily draw blood or give treatments.