Read along as former BMTU patient Caitlin Miller shares memories of her time on the unit. We are so grateful to Caitlin, her family and friends for sponsoring our inaugural BMTU Putt Putt Tournament. Click here to see photos from this special day!
Share a bit about your diagnosis and what brought you to the BMTU.
I was eleven years old when I was diagnosed with two rare genetic disorders: Monosomy 7 and Myelodysplastic Syndrome. Together, they meant cancer. It was early 2008, and after years of misdiagnosis, I was admitted to the BMTU at Texas Children’s Hospital in June of the same year.
What three words would you use to describe what it felt like on the BMTU?
Without His Grace Foundation, it felt intimidating, unknown, and lonely. With His Grace Foundation, it was colorful, caring, and hopeful.
Do you remember receiving your HGF Welcome Basket? Anything specific you received and remember enjoying/appreciating?
I will always remember my HGF Welcome Basket! Val (former HGF Executive Director) asked me what I was interested in and what I liked to do. I told her bright colors, polka dots, and puzzles/puzzle books. My parents appreciated the practical items, and I loved the coloring books, puzzles and art projects.
One very special item from my basket was a huge dog stuffed animal. I named it Bob, after my physician, Dr. Robert Krance. I still have Bob in my childhood bedroom. He is a symbol of hope and love for all of us, even today!
Any other moments with / services you received from HGF that you want to share?
Before admission, I imagined my hospital room would be a white, sterile space. Upon arrival, I was welcomed to a fully decorated haven ready for a pre-teen to live in for a long stretch. I had prepared myself for starkness, and the colors and joy that HGF brought to my room did wonders for my mental health.
Parking expenses add up quickly when you’re on the BMTU for so long. My parents so appreciated the assistance with that, as it freed up resources to help with things more directly related to my care and keeping me happy.
My parents recently shared that the meals provided for families were a very welcomed change from the limited options within walking distance of TCH. The smell of Chipotle (the closest restaurant at the time), made me feel sick. It still does! I was grateful to have other options for them as well.
You have been such an incredible supporter of HGF. What excited you and your friends and family about providing this sponsorship? What do you hope it provides current patients?
My friends and family have been amazing about supporting me through my transplant, and continuing to support HGF and TCH to this day, 15 years later! We jumped at the opportunity to provide an opportunity for patients to let loose and have fun! We hope it gives patients and their families a day to forget about the day-to-day stresses of their situation and really enjoy being together.
We were helped by so many, and the ability to pay it forward is something we’ve been blessed with and highly prioritize.
Anything else you’d like to share?
From emotional and parental support, to financial and housing assistance, His Grace Foundation uses every single dollar toward helping children in treatment. There is no cause more worthy. That is just one of the many reasons we love HGF so much! It is a direct way to make a difference in the lives of many sick children and their families who deserve all the help we can provide.