David’s story might be sad, but he is not the only one. When David, 9, first came to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, he remembers how afraid he was. He suffered from a rare form of leukemia and was not mislead about his condition. But the great people at the hospital refused to give up on David.
“I was scared that I was gonna die,” David said on TODAY Monday. “They cured me, and now I’m feeling way much better than ever.”
David’s story is not a unique one in St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in New York City. He like many sick children have to face the reality of death much earlier than they should.
So that’s why Jenna Bush Hager visited David and more kids like him as part of TODAY’s annual “Thanks and Giving” segment to give him and other sick kids a chance to be just like every other kid for a day.
Jenna and a select group of children from the research hospital go on an adventure together that is filled with laughter and joy. David was particularly excited for his playdate with Snug, who is the dog from the popular show “Sprout House” that is on the children’s television channel Sprout.
David was joined by Rika, 3, who was diagnosed with a cancer of the eyes known as bilateral retinoblastoma. She couldn’t have had more fun dancing with Snug the dog. She came to St. Jude when her local doctor suggested removing her eyes to beat cancer. Rika’s parents knew there had to be another way and they found the solution at St. Jude.
Along with the fun play date with the famous TV dog, the children were given a chance to select their favorite costume from Snug’s discovery drawer. They had their pick of becoming an astronaut, a joker, a princess and many other personas. The children loved having fun on this day because they could forget about their cancer treatments and just be like any other kid having a blast with friends.
Besides giving the children a chance to have fun, Jenna Bush Hager also encouraged the children to say what they’re thankful for in their lives.
A small boy named Randell was engrossed in the moment, so he said the first thing he thought of:
“I’m thankful for being here this day,” Randell said.
Because this happened just a few days before Thanksgiving, it was a perfect chance to celebrate the children and give them an opportunity to feel grateful.
“I’m thankful for my family,” said a boy named Brantley.
But what about David, the boy we mentioned at the beginning of the article? Did he have a great time? He had come so far from his first terrifying day at the hospital. Because he had met beautiful people like Jenna and the famous TV dog Snug, David had a new lease on life. And when Jenna asked him how he enjoyed his time with Snug and his friends, David gave it:
“Ten thousand thumbs up!”