Cancer is one of the most ruthless diseases in today’s modern world, especially when it befalls children. And while most cancer stories end up with the loss of a loved one, happy endings happen as well. Such is the case for Ava, Chloe, Lauren, and McKinley, four girls who became close friends after meeting in the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida.
All four girls met three years ago in the hospital when they all fell sick. Ava, Lauren, and McKinley had acute leukemia while Chloe had a rare form of lung cancer. With all four of them between the ages of 4 of 5, they quickly bonded over their similar conditions and became good friends. As McKinley puts it, they bonded “because our blood was sick.”
The four girls reunite every year in the lobby of the hospital to take a photo together. However, this time it’s a bit special as they are all in remission together.
“They were all on active treatment the first time we did this,” Alyssa Luciano, Ava’s mom, told in front of FOX13 in St. Petersburg. “It’s amazing to see how far they’ve come from being bald little babies.” (1)
Social interaction is well-known to be vital for the physical and mental health of humans, and that’s especially true when people have to battle such incredibly damaging and dangerous conditions, as well as when they are young. (2)
The four girls from Florida exemplify this very clearly as they managed to bond over their similar conditions, ages, and even bald looks, and overcome difficult times together.
Shawna Glynn, Lauren’s mother, also mentioned in front of FOX13 that the four girls even formed a camaraderie when they were at the hospital.
“She’s 3 years old and doesn’t have any hair, but all of her friends in the hospital look the same way so it kind of gave her some normalcy,” Glynn said.
Karen Moore, McKinley’s mom, also added that “It was just always a breath of fresh air to see a familiar face and to know that she wasn’t alone in this.”
The four girls weren’t the only ones to form a strong bond, however – their four mothers also befriended and helped each other a lot over the years.
As Moore puts it, “Just having other moms to relate to has been phenomenal. Just to have other people going through it at the same time as us.”
After Lauren completed her treatment, the last of the four girls was officially in remission.
“We’re done,” Glynn said. “She just rang the bell to signify that she has completed her treatment…She’s going into kindergarten on Monday.”