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The first Sunday in June, the Pattyn Project descended on 9B the Hematology/Oncology Unit at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh to spread some love and makeover the room of our latest little warrior, a brave two-year-old named Sonny, who had undergone a bone marrow transplant, just three days prior. On January 31, Sonny was diagnosed with an aggressive form of Acute Myeloid Leukemia. Since that time, he has spent a considerable amount time in the hospital battling infections and undergoing treatment to combat his cancer. 

When we first met Sonny two weeks ago, he was hanging out in his crib with his Grandma Carol, who is a great source of support for her grandson. From that visit, we learned that he was a big fan of PJ Masks, “Green” Goofy and “Blue” Mickey, Legos and all the usual boy things. This time when we rolled up with our wagon of goodies and knocked on his door, we were warmly greeted by his parents Jen and Frank Jr. They were exhausted; it was clear that Sonny had had a rough night. We sent them for coffee and proceeded to work quietly to transform his room, while Sonny slept peacefully.
The room came together nicely, bursting with primary colors and many points of interest. In the corner, we set up his PJ Masks tent and rolled out a large similarly themed playmat for him to drive his cars on and play with his action figures. His sign, a staple in all our rooms featured “Green” Goofy along with Catboy, Owlette and Gekko the main characters for PJ Masks, which coordinated perfectly with his fleece blanket and Catboy lovey. Next, we constructed a separate small play area including a yellow table and chair for building Mickey Mouse Legos and playing with Playdoh.  We brought in a bowling set and motorized car to encourage activity for when Sonny is feeling better and dropped off a a cute green frog bag filled with comfort items for cancer patients provided by our friends at “Blessed Bag.”

It’s always difficult watching little ones endure challenging medical conditions, but if we have learned anything through the process of transforming rooms… it’s that kids are resilient, and a great support system is invaluable to the healing process. Fortunately, Sonny’s family lives close by in Washington, PA, so he sees his siblings “Big Bro” Frank III, who is 16, “Mother Hen” Suzanna, who is 14, “His favorite person” John, who is 10, and his little sister Lucille, who he loves watching the “I love Lucy” shows with when she comes to visit. Also rallying around this little warrior and his parents to offer love and support, are his grandparents Carolyn and Robert Nelson and his cousin, who he affectionately calls “Joy Toy.”

We left knowing this sweet little boy was well loved. Thank you to everyone who has shown us ongoing support as well as new friends who have come along as we pursue this passion.  We could not do this without you!  We hope you all will continue to consider donating to this special cause, so we can continue to lift the spirits of precious souls like Sonny.  We ask that you all keep our newest friend and his family in your thoughts and prayers during the remainder of his stay in the hospital, as we hope for persistent progress and continued strength on his journey to a hopeful recovery. Thank you, Sonny!

VIEW Sonny's Gallery