STORIES
September 15, 2017

Even A Hurricane Couldn't Stop These Nurses From Celebrating

Even A Hurricane Couldn't Stop These Nurses From Celebrating
Angelina Walker
By: Angelina Walker Director of Nursing Content and Social Media

By Angelina Gibson

While most 3-year-old girls have balloons and cake on their birthdays, little Willow Stine was preparing for her first round of chemotherapy. Willow was diagnosed with leukemia just two days before Hurricane Irma was set to hit the Florida coast - the same date as her birthday. 

So the Pediatric Nurses at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida made sure she had an extra special day.

Birthday, Hurricane and Amazing Nurses

As the rest of her family evacuated, Willow’s mother hadn’t had time to prepare for a birthday celebration. “I was like, I don’t know how much more I can take,” Jennifer Stine told CNN. “My baby’s turning 3 and has cancer. And on top of that, my 4-year-old daughter and husband are an hour and a half away in a hurricane. I’m just trying to process all this.”Well, once Willow’s nurses caught wind of her upcoming birthday - they decided to throw her a Frozen themed celebration. The nurses were fully prepared to party- their unit was fully stocked with gifts, cake, and decorations! 

Well, once Willow’s nurses caught wind of her upcoming birthday - they decided to throw her a Frozen-themed celebration. The nurses were fully prepared to party - their unit was fully stocked with gifts, cake, and decorations! 

Danielle Caci, the Public Relations Manager at the hospital stated, “After learning it was Willow’s birthday, the nurses and child-life specialists decided to step up and organize a party for her with the resources and supplies they had at the hospital. The gifts are donated to the child-life department throughout the year, so the team picked out gifts for her. They found out she loved ‘Frozen,’ so those were the types of gifts they picked out.”

Let There Be Cake! 

“The cakes are made by local grocery stores and saved in the freezer in our cafeteria for patient birthdays when needed,” Caci added. 

Willow loved her cake and all her gifts. “I always wanted this!” she gleamed as she opened her Queen Elsa doll.  “When everyone walked in and Willow began opening gifts, the look on her mom’s face was priceless,” said Caci. “They have had some of the worst moments of their life in that past 72 hours, so the fact they were able to take a break from focusing on her diagnosis brought so much emotion to her family.”

She added, “It was an honor to celebrate Willow and provide some joy to this family.”Thankfully, Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital experienced little damage from the storm. 

Nurses truly are the heart of healthcare and Willow will always remember this day - made special by her devoted nurses.

September Is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

September is childhood cancer awareness month - a time to increase awareness of pediatric cancer and to help raise funds for valuable research.

Currently, only 4% of the National Cancer Institute’s budget goes to funding child cancer research. Recently, Doctors and Scientists have been able to increase survival rates from 50% to 80%. They have also developed breakthrough treatments such as this ‘living drug’ that uses one’s own immune system to target cancer.  

 

#ScrubOutCancer - Nurse.org Fundraiser

If you’d like to help the cause, join our fundraiser on Instagram! Post a photo in your scrubs (or not in your scrubs - your choice!) and use the hashtag #ScrubOutCancer + tag @nurse_org. Over the next 48 hours, we’ll donate $1 for every photo shared to the hashtag #ScrubOutCancer 

Together, we can find a cure! 

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