30 DAYS/30 STORIES® 2022
Abriana’s (Nonni as we like to call her) is not a unique or special story. Her story is just one of many childhood cancer stories all around the United States and the world. I want to put her story into the perspective of every child’s story. It starts with a diagnosis, and when you hear the word cancer, it is like you forgot how to breathe. You cannot hear the person who is telling you this anymore, and the tears are immediate. Your mind is just saying one word over and over again…cancer. When you come back to reality from the word cancer, then you hear what kind of cancer. In Nonni’s case, it was rhabdomyosarcoma at 2 years old. And your mind races again…what does even mean?
That is where her story starts, and the story of childhood cancer starts for many children. For Nonni and all the children around the world, their families, and friends, this is story about heartache, the fight, bravery, triumph, love, hope, strength, willpower, prayers, and, for some, loss. So much of Nonni’s story involves St Christopher’s Children’s Hospital and Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia and all the doctor, nurses, office staff, mental health workers, social workers, volunteers, all the way down to the custodial staff and even the person serving a cup of coffee at the cafeteria. They all play an important part in fighting cancer. All these wonderful people fighting for your child and encircling them with all the help and support.
Then there are the outside organizations and their volunteers like PCFLV that give each child that extra support and provide the things to make these kids’ lives as normal as possible even after the diagnosis and treatment. Nonni has grown up to be a normal, productive, beautiful teenager, and our family is eternally grateful to each and every person that touched Nonni’s life and continues to even now. Nonni’s story is not over as she continues to overcome obstacles from her treatment like many children do. Our family would also like to recognize the children that fought and lost their battle. We will continue in their memory to fight like the soldiers they were to someday overcome this horrible disease.
Written by Abriana’s Aunt Michele
Please consider helping children with cancer and others in our community by scheduling a blood donation at Miller-Keystone Blood Center: https://donor.giveapint.org/donor/schedules/zip