When Laila was just nine months old, doctors diagnosed her with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). After chemotherapy, it became clear that Laila required a bone marrow transplant during the holiday season of 2018.
“Laila had to be away from her sister and brother,” said Bianca, Laila’s Mom. “And she had to stay in the hospital for 41 days.”
The bone marrow transplant took a toll on Laila’s body. She experienced weight gain and weight loss and contracted viruses that prolonged her time spent away from her siblings. She also had to transition from exclusively breastfeeding to eating solid foods, which Bianca said was “the hardest.” So many transitions, so many losses of beloved, home-like comforts, and such a little girl.
Bianca grieved Laila spending Christmas in the hospital away from her siblings. But, she said, “being able to meet HGF once again and receiving the many gifts for our family during Christmas was very thoughtful. It helped during the toughest times knowing that we [weren’t] forgotten.”
Bianca said that HGF took stress off her shoulders both literally and metaphorically. She sometimes slept in the hospital bed with Laila, and at other times on the pull-out bed next to her. The massage therapist, Craig Brown, who visited the BMTU to provide chair massages helped Bianca take a few moments to care for her weary body and relax.
“The massages were my absolute fav!” Bianca told HGF. She also loved all of the catered meals. Parking vouchers and the continual sense of welcome exuded by HGF staff and volunteers helped her breathe more easily.
Laila’s road to recovery was long as she encountered various viruses, but in November 2019 she finally went back home to Beaumont. Now two years old, Laila loves to count, sing, dance, and play with her big brother and sister.