The cowbells are clinking and maracas are shaking. All of the nurses who cared for Audrey, who is dressed in all pink, surround her in the hallway leading to the bell on 7 South, the cancer unit at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. It was six months of chemotherapy, but Audrey is finally done with treatment after battling acute myeloid leukemia.
“It was pretty hard, but I was not letting this monster just get my child,” says Audrey’s mom, Adriana. “We were not expecting to get out of here before Christmas because at the beginning, it was supposed to be six cycles of chemo. So we were expecting to get out in February.”
But six cycles of chemo turned to five, then five to four. Audrey was responding exceptionally well. News broke that Audrey would go home in time for the holidays, celebrate her 11th birthday out of the hospital in January and ring in the new year with a clean bill of health.
She walks quickly to the bell, reaches up and rings it loudly. She hugs her beloved nurses. The compassion is felt through the halls. Adriana is crying as she records the special moment.
“Everybody on 7S, they love the kids. Not only mine, but everybody’s,” Adriana says. “It was emotional on so many levels.”
The moment is bittersweet – Audrey admits she doesn’t want to leave because she will miss her nurses so much.
“They became family,” Adriana says. “What we got from Johns Hopkins All Children’s throughout the entire process, it’s just the best.”
Because of that, Audrey wants to now pursue a career as a nurse. But first, she’s just happy and grateful to be home, where she’s most looking forward to her mom’s home cooked meals.