“No Leukemia Detected.” Avery’s mom doesn’t process the words when the doctor first says them aloud. “It wasn’t until I saw it written on the report that it started to sink in,” Bailey says with a glee that matches her son’s chortling smile. With the exception of a two-week break from chemotherapy, the Spring Hill, Florida, mom has slept every night since Christmas next to his crib inside Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital.
She and her husband noticed bruises on his back during his bath at a Disney World resort. His first trip to the theme park was supposed to be perfect. The bruises they learned were symptomatic of blood cancer. Two days later the family was lodging on 7 South–the hematology-oncology floor at the hospital. Bailey spent her first wedding anniversary here also. “We’ll probably be here for his first birthday too,” she says. But she doesn’t fret the small stuff anymore.
Avery is undergoing a second round of chemotherapy to help keep his tiny body leukemia-free. “He deals with it better than I did,” mom adds, while boasting of her son’s near-perpetual smile brightened with eight teeth and just the right amount of baby drool. They have plans to return to Disney World once he has finished his therapy. “This time, I’m going to buy him everything,” mom says.
Celebrating a first birthday in the hospital isn’t ideal, but the Johns Hopkins All Children’s staff helps “Sea Bass” and his family have a special day.
As the vaccine comes to the frontline workers, a world of possibilities begins to open up.
For Gavin, the hospital isn’t all about challenges and adversity. It’s about giving joy to others.
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