It’s funny sometimes how traditions are formed.
In September of 2016, four little girls who were being treated for cancer had become fast friends. On the fly, Chloe, Lauren, McKinley and Avalynn posed for photos in pink tutus—and made a little magic happen.
Those simple images seemed to capture an entire world. With the girls’ little bald heads and sunken eyes, the photos conveyed the toll the disease and the treatments were taking. But they captured something else, too … a certain life force, a fearlessness and the kind of unbridled joy for which young children seem to have unlimited reserves.
One year later, in 2017, they reunited—each of them a little stronger and thrilled to see each other. They wore gold tutus, and shirts with lettering that read “Brave,” “Strong,” “Fearless,” and “Warrior.”
This year, they honor the tradition once again. Now ages 4 to 5, the girls race to greet one another in the lobby of Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital with smiles and giggles. They have grown since last year, and are developing their own interests. Avalynn, a dedicated Disney fan, has an artistic flair. Chloe is a T-ball player and loves to fish. McKinley is into all things “girly”—princesses, jewelry, dancing. Lauren is an animal lover. She’s a big hugger, too.
A special milestone this year—all of the girls have now completed their treatments and are in remission. Their shirts bear the same proclamation: “Survivor.”
Some days are especially sweet.