The hospital’s glass doors slide open to reveal a circular drive filled with several dozen members of the Kangaroo Court Roos travel baseball team in physically distant clusters along with their parents. As they wave signs, clap and cheer, 8-year-old Jakobe and his mother, Imeria, can hardly believe their eyes.
Over a month ago, Jakobe was rushed by helicopter to Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. The once healthy pitcher and outfielder for the Roos was diagnosed with T-cell lymphoblastic leukemia.
Since his teammates couldn’t visit him inside the hospital’s Cancer & Blood Disorders Institute, due to COVID-19 restrictions, they decided to make a surprise visit from outside the hospital. Jakobe’s care team gave him special permission to come downstairs.
“This was amazing,” Imeria says. “I knew they were all going to be here, but it was nothing compared to actually walking to those doors and seeing all those people here for Jakobe. It just means so much to us that he has all this support, and they were willing to do this to help uplift him after a month-long stay at the hospital.”
“We know how much Jakobe loves Kangaoo Court,” says Michael Olasin, youth director of the Kangaroo Court Roos. “It’s a blessing that we have so many families here to support their special teammate.”
The holidays she has altered to care for kids are too many to count, but as she retires, she leaves much for patients and colleagues to be thankful.
When chemotherapy jeopardizes a special day, the hospital team creates a special memory for a patient family.
Known as the “tutu girls,” they share a bond through their common experience with pediatric cancer. That bond seemingly grows stronger with each reunion.
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