Yesterday, I told you Bella was awaiting CAT scan results for a lump that was growing in her throat. Luckily, it was just a swollen lymph node. Powerful statement – “just a swollen lymph node”. Nothing is just anything when your child is battling a deadly disease. Everything becomes a potential set-back, a sleepless night or another reason to cry. This time, it was just something; next time, it may be something more.
While Bella remains in the hospital with infections, her sister Brianna is turning 8. Though Bella won’t be attending any birthday parties, she was able to spend a fun-filled evening playing with Shopkins and enjoying her sister’s company. Birthdays are very important to 8-year-old girls, Brianna is no different. What is different is that hers will have the shadow of her sister’s illness overhead.
Picking a Human of the Week for this story is as difficult as it has been for many others, there are deserving people everywhere. Brianna deserves some extra love, she’s trying to understand what is going on inside an 8-year-old mind that sometimes feels left out. Lisa and Harry are parents that are struggling to balance two children, a deadly disease and a marriage. Holding up the primary figures are scores of volunteers, donors and healthcare professional trying to get the family through the next day, until Bella is well.
One thing I do know, Leukemia could never be considered as Human of the Week. Leukemia will attack the bone marrow and blood streams of more than 52,000 new people each, more than 42,000 people will die each year. Bella’s form of leukemia, Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia, causes severe blood clotting or bleeding issues. If you’d like more information on leukemia, or any other type of cancer, I urge you to go the the National Cancer Institute‘s page.
You’ve obviously seen the picture above and know that Bella has been chosen as this week’s Human of the Week. Why? Because she’s 3, she’s in the hospital (again) and she’s battling leukemia. Besides, I’m in charge, I don’t need a reason. Brianna ran a very close second because I do know that she needs love and recognition also, so when Bella gets her magnet, there will be a little something special in the package for Brianna.
As for parenting a sick child, Bella’s parents ask that you tread carefully around sick children. Not everything you say and do may be appropriate in their presence. Conversely, not everything the child says or does will be appropriate either. They are young, ill, emotional and confused. Please be patient.
Bella’s family receives a lot of love and support from their Facebook fans and from strangers. Bella is lucky in that she does not have one of the invisible disease we speak often of on this blog. It’s obvious from her hair loss that she has some kind of cancer, people don’t question her need to park in a handicapped spot or stay home from school (if she were old enough). That’s one less stressor for the family to worry about.
On the down side, of which there are many, she can’t be a normal 3-year-old, she is kept in a protective bubble at all times. Her parents know the day will come when she is better and can do everything a child should be doing. It’s something to look forward to.
The one thing Mom Lisa has learned from all this? “It has opened my eyes about illness and the effects it has on the family as a whole, especially if you have other children. It has made me appreciate the little things and to enjoy every single day we are given, because we are not promised tomorrow.”
If you are wondering how you can help, please visit Bella’s GoFundMe page or any of these resources that the Ward family has recommended: