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Cancer is a terrifying challenge for anyone – no matter how old or young. But when children are stricken with cancer, it is sad. To think that a young person needs to face death before they’ve even experience life makes us question the meaning of this existence. And when those children are stolen from the world by cancer, we feel as though something precious was taken from us before it had the chance to fully bloom. It’s sad and a true tragedy. But despite the sadness of childhood cancer, there are joyous moments – like when this young girl was able to beat back the disease that threatened her very existence. And when she finally went home after her last chemo treatment, she got the superhero send off she had earned.
The 1-year-old girl in this video finished her last chemo treatment at John Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida and got to go home a recognized hero.
After being discharged, family and hospital staff gathered to see her off as she left the hospital cancer free.
At just 9-months old, little Emilie Meza was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia – a type of blood cancer that can be deadly in children. It requires a bone marrow transplant. But doctors failed to find the perfect match for little Emilie.
So without a perfect match, Emilie’s father, who was a half match, donated his bone marrow to help save his own daughter from leukemia.
Emilie’s attending transplant physician, Dr. Benjamin Oshrine, admitted that because her dad was just a half match, they needed to take special precautions to help ensure the girl’s safety.
The transplant process was dangerous and precarious. But they performed the transplant and were successful.
The doctors were overjoyed with their success and were glad when Emilie and her family were able to walk out of the hospital with smiles.
But her battle wasn’t over. She needed chemotherapy to fight back the lingering cancer. Fortunately, that was a success too.
On the day that Emilie got her superhero send off, staff gave her a Supergirl costume and clapped and cheered as she walked down the hall. She was holding her beloved dad’s hand as she walked.
At the end, she marked her treatments complete when she rang a celebratory bell.
“Oh, it was an amazing feeling,” Emilie’s mother, Roxana Meza, said. “There were tears in my eyes – tears of joy. She’s gone through so much and she doesn’t know it because she’s so little. It was tough at a lot of points, but to feel accomplished that you’re getting past the chemo part of it is amazing.”
For Emilie, the chemo treatments are done. But her battle against leukemia is not yet over. Now doctors will closely manage her to ensure her recovery continues. During this phase of the treatment, Emilie and her family will stay at the Ronald McDonald House near the hospital. Despite the challenge, her parents are amazed by their daughter.
“She is a supergirl,” Roxana said. “She’s been through so much. She always smiles through all of the tough things and even on her bad days, she always pushed through.”
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