Eleanor is a thoughtful kid with a bright spirit, attentive to detail in her drawings, friendships, and enjoyment of life. She laughs, plays, listens, and learns with an added sparkle. She has a sense of adventure cultivated by her dad, and a healthy dose of caution encouraged by yours truly.
When she was four, Eleanor had increasing sluggishness and a pale complexion. We took her for a blood test, followed by more tests, before a diagnosis of leukemia was confirmed.
Eleanor initially responded well to chemo yet the next six months were tough. Our community rallied financial support so I could stay home with her. Some weeks, Eleanor needed multiple blood and platelet transfusions. She returned to school in spring 2018 and continues daily chemo for the maintenance phase of treatment. She has cycles of varying intensity but we’re lucky she has experienced few complications.
In her hardest chemo phase, Eleanor’s medical team mentioned she was eligible for a wish. We reached out to Make-A-Wish® Massachusetts and Rhode Island to help her focus on fun things she could do once she was feeling better. We were so grateful for the kindness of the Make-A-Wish volunteers who brought Eleanor and her brother thoughtful gifts and prompted her to share her wish ideas.
Inspired by her friends, Eleanor wished to go to a water park on Cape Cod. She describes how “the lazy river let you just float around, and the wave pool lets you bob up and down.” She says, “It was nice to play on the beach” – Eleanor is a master shell collector – and we slept each night to the sound of the waves at our waterfront rental house.
The whole trip was so calming and filled with kid-sized fun! We loved watching our kids enjoy themselves with silly play – goofing around at the water park, playing mini-golf, and setting up a family scavenger hunt. Eleanor and I also went on a whale watch and it felt so magical to go off into the distance together.
It is so important for our daughter to have joy to distract her from the discomfort throughout this journey. Joy is invaluable to hold courageous kids like Eleanor up during their struggles. We are honored to be part of the Make-A-Wish community and this network of families supported by the love of strangers who give them joy when they need it most.