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There are special moments in life when you have the opportunity to meet the type of person who can truly "light up a room". Riley, our second Pattyn Project patient of the weekend embodied every part of this phrase to her core. A vibrant, outgoing, creative, kind 8 year old, Riley was admitted to the oncology unit to receive a bone marrow transplant as part of her treatment plan for the Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia that had recently reoccurred in her little body. Despite the difficult news, Riley's spirit could not be stunted. As we we walked through that door pulling the wagon full of the contents that would transform her space back into her own, Riley was bouncing up in down in anticipation and excitement. This was truly such a blessing to see, considering BMT patients are often very low energy after the stresses associated with their procedure, and many times struggle to simply get out of bed.
We dove right in to everything in the wagon, each item adding to the permanent smile on Riley's face. We first covered her bed in a Shopkins comforter with matching pillow case, and two character pillows. The vibrant colors of the comforter fit right in with Riley's love for rainbows. Riley was excited to use her new speaker and ribbon wand during her upcoming famous dance parties to her favorite song, Roar by Katy Perry, which we felt could not be a more appropriate anthem for this courageous young soul. She showed us pictures of her family, including her 3 older siblings. The expressive craft we chose for Riley was a picture frame that she could paint and decorate to her liking and eventually fill with another photo of her choosing. Perhaps the most influential part of Riley's new room was her art supplies. She could barely wait to set up her easel and get straight to painting in her bright green smock. She quickly started creating an underwater masterpiece depicting the little mermaid in amazing detail. We envision many beautiful works of art covering Riley's walls as she continues her journey towards healing and recovery from her recent transplant. We enjoyed a few quiet moments, taking the opportunity to speak with her mother Jennifer, and hear more about all the special things that make Riley tick. With great admiration, Jennifer described her daughter’s bravery and ability to always put others first. She explained Riley's love for people and her constant desire to bring happiness to others more than herself. Her spirit was truly inspirational and her smile contagious. We were so thankful for yet another opportunity to step into such an intimate space, and spend time with this amazing family.
Thank you to everyone who has shown us ongoing support, as well as new friends who have come alongside of us, as we pursue this passion. We couldn’t do it without you! We hope you all will continue to consider donating to this special cause, so we can continue to lift the spirits of young fighters like Riley. We ask that you all keep her and her family in your thoughts and prayers during the remainder of her stay in the hospital, as we hope for persistent progress, and a smooth recovery from her bone marrow transplant as she continues her treatments and journey through this diagnosis. Thank You Riley!