My name is Laura Maguire, my husband is Kevin, and these are our two daughters, Sadie and Charlotte. On Sept. 1, 2010, our daughter Charlotte was diagnosed with ALL. Obviously, our lives changed forever. That evening, Dr. Iffy was the oncologist on call in the ED. I remember her calmly telling us our precious four-year-old daughter had cancer.
Upon hearing this, I had to leave the room and crumble. I was thankfully ushered into a private room. A few moments later, Dr. Iffy came in. She was not the least uncomfortable with my emotional state. I asked her if Charlotte knew she had cancer, and she responded that Charlotte knows what I tell her and that she will decide how to act, based on how I act. This was exactly what I needed to hear. I am so thankful she was there to deliver this much needed parenting advice. I was able to recollect and help my daughter get ready for treatment.
Several months into treatment, our Oncologist, Dr. Watt, was seeing us for a quick non-sedation visit. Dr. Watt has quite a reputation for incredibly beautiful, sky high shoes. On this particular day, she was wearing some amazing dark red patent leather heals. As someone who can only rarely wear high heels, I had to tell her how gorgeous they were. She replied that she was going to have a yucky day and felt like she should wear something “fun.” Afterwards, I began to think about what a bad day for a pediatric oncologist must be like. I realized there are two types of people that go to the clinic--those who have to (like our family) and those who choose to.
Heroic does not begin to describe the staff at clinic. Everyone--doctors, nurses, technicians, office staff--everyone is outstanding at their job. When you become a patient there, you realize that these people are the tops of their fields, they could work anywhere they wanted to, and they choose to devote their lives to combating pediatric cancer is incredible. I feel certain that this expertise and dedication, combined with generous financial gifts, is the reason cure rate of childhood cancer is so high. ALL has a 90% cure rate, when my husband and I were children it was very rare for a child to beat ALL. Hopefully, this generous gift from Hyundai will help continue this trend.
My final story is about Charlotte. We like to garden in our family and one evening early this spring, Charlotte and I were planting seeds in the backyard. The mosquitoes were just starting to emerge. Charlotte was explaining to me that the mosquitoes didn’t bite her. They knew she had cancer and had decided that she had been poked enough. (She has since revised her opinion.) I asked her what she thought about that, having cancer. She thought for a moment and said, “I still feel pressure when they do my port, but other than that, it’s no big deal.”
It’s no big deal. I don’t think there could be a more shining endorsement of this clinic than having a four-year-old say cancer is no big deal.