Hugs. Kisses. Family. These are the things that got 4-year-old La’Miya through eight months of cancer treatment at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. La’Miya’s grandmother first noticed something on La’Miya’s stomach when she laid down for bed one evening. Her pediatrician sent her to Nationwide Children’s. La’Miya was diagnosed with stage two Wilms tumor, the most common type of kidney cancer found in children. Her tumor had spread to other tissues in her stomach (abdomen) by the time of her diagnosis.
Mark A. Ranalli, MD, director of the Embryonal Tumor Program at Nationwide Children’s, was La’Miya’s cancer (oncology) specialist. La’Miya’s family vividly remembers him providing the diagnosis. He explained that this kind of tumor could go from the size of a golf ball to the size of a watermelon within moments. He said treatment for Wilms tumor usually involves surgery, chemotherapy and sometimes radiation. Hearing that she was diagnosed with cancer was devastating and frightening for La’Miya’s mother, Mahogany, and something no parent should have to hear.
“It’s been challenging, and it’s been hard trying to keep emotions under way,” Mahogany says. “Not being so afraid and knowing everything was going to be ok. With her being as strong as she’s been, she definitely gave us a lot of courage. To see her makes so many people smile. It makes me smile to know that she just carries this energy and light with her.”
La’Miya has a lot to smile about. After surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatment at Nationwide Children’s, she is cancer free. She is still the same fun, energetic and bubbly little girl who loves to dance, sing and be a big sister.
“I hope she continues to stay strong as she has been this entire process,” Jamila, La’Miya’s maternal grandmother, shares. And “that she never forgets the journey that she has been on and that she inspires others to be strong. That there is healing and better days to come.”
La’Miya’s bright personality is a lot like the butterflies around Nationwide Children’s. “When I see butterflies, I feel happy because they fly around and sometimes, they're my favorite colors,” the brave little girl says.
This holiday season, when you donate to Nationwide Children’s, you will light up the hospital lawn with glowing butterflies for patients to see and in doing so, light up their life. When a gift is made, butterflies will illuminate across the front lawn of the main hospital. Giving this holiday season provides kids like La’Miya some light in what can otherwise be a very dark time.