MEMPHIS, Tenn. - One little girl recently got to celebrate one of the most joyous days at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital — the last day of chemotherapy!
4-year-old Isabella's “No More Chemo” party featured cheering, confetti and hospital staff gathering to sing:
Our patients have the cutest S-M-I-L-E
Our patients have the sweetest H-E-A-R-T
Oh, we love to see you every day,
but now’s the time we get to say
'Pack up your bags,
get out the door,
you don’t get chemo anymore!
But that would just be the beginning of the celebration for Isabella, lovingly known as "Isa," who was treated for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) at St. Jude.
Families from Holy Rosary Catholic School, where Isabella’s older siblings Kenneth and Mia are students, were planning a big bash for the family from more than 2,000 miles away.
“We had this whole party imagined in our heads,” said Savannah Grow, whose daughter Addison is one of Mia's second-grade classmates. “We were going to have a big celebration, meet her at the hospital, and then go back to one of our houses for a big party.”
Everybody would be in matching T-shirts featuring a design from Savannah’s sister.
But when COVID-19 came, everything changed, closing schools shutting down cities and canceling events.
So, the people at Holy Rosary borrowed an idea, having seen videos of teachers around the country parading in their cars through the neighborhoods of homebound students, trying to keep that connection alive.
Taking a cue from what they saw, they brought the party to Isabella.
A caravan of parents and kids set up outside the St. Jude campus. They stood outside their decorated vehicles, cheering and waving signs as the family drove out the campus gates and past the line of cars. Then the family parked, and Isa, on the opposite side of the street, walked past her well-wishers and said, "It’s all my friends!”
It was an uplifting moment in a time of global strife.
Isa was diagnosed about the time she turned 2 years old in the fall of 2017. At the time, the family hadn’t even heard of St. Jude. They'd come to think of the place as “like our Heaven.”
“It’s where we go to feel safe,” Ela said, “It’s a place where everyone gives you love and tells you that everything is going to be OK. At St. Jude, you’re never alone.”
Driving through the St. Jude gates, having finished treatment and having been told in the sweetest way possible to “pack up your bags, get out the door, you don’t get chemo anymore,” they found even more love waiting for them.
Tickets for a chance to win the 2020 St. Jude Dream Home are on sale now and support St. Jude! Tickets are available by calling 1-800-851-5323 or by visiting this link.