“Oh my gosh, look at you,” gushes Sarah Haines, R.N. II, in the Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital hematology/oncology clinic.
Agata, in for a routine blood check, spots Haines and her eyes light up. Haines rushes into Agata's open arms. “You look a lot better than the last time I saw you,” Haines says, remembering the sight of Agata in a three-week coma and close to death from an adenovirus, one of a group of viruses that can cause infections of the lung, stomach, intestine and eyes. Agata had already been weakened by chemotherapy at that point for her acute lymphoblastic leukemia. It was rough.
“Hang on, I have something for you and your brother,” Haines says, racing off and quickly returning still grinning, with an arm full of Christmas gifts—odd for spring. She hands them to a thrilled Agata, explaining that she had been saving them since Agata had missed her special invitation to the Kids with Cancer Holiday Party in December. Noting her absence, Haines, who volunteers as a coordinator for the annual event, had set the gifts aside. Agata opens the first gift. A gift certificate to Sephora. Makeup!
Haines knows it is the ideal gift for a 19-year-old. Especially one whose hair is currently and finally growing back.
Haines smiles, holding back tears.
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.
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.
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