Meet St. Jude Patient Johangeline & Her Mommy Lianisely [VIDEO]
When I traveled to St. Jude in January I knew emotions would be high and tears would flow. However, I never imagined how closely I would identify with one particular Mother and daughter I met.The first full day we were in Memphis we loaded buses and headed to St. Jude for a tour of the hospital and to meet some of the families.
The minute we walked through the doors of St. Jude my emotions began to do what they do. Every hall we walked and corner we turned I felt tears and laughter (mostly tears) thinking of each family and often seeing those sweet babies being pulled in the red wagons.
One particular little girl kept passing our group in the hall. She had the most beautiful eyes and that smile could surely melt any heart. As the day went on I noticed that little girl was stuck in my mind. I wanted to know her story. I wanted to know her.
During lunch I went to Kay Cafe and low and behold there they were again! I walked over slowly and introduced myself. Momma, Lianisely, immediately smiled and hugged me. She asked me to sit down and we talked about their time at St. Jude. One of the first questions I asked was how old Johangeline was and that is when it all hit home for me. Johangeline was only two weeks older than my Charlotte. Fighting back tears and a flood of emotion I asked about their story. This is what Lianisely told me:
“It all started at a clinic in San Jorge with Dr. Maldonado. We arrived thinking it would be something simple, I never imagined a little that had barely just started to live, would have to endure something like this. When Dr. Maldonado examined Johangeline there was only two possible diagnosis and he let us know neither were encouraging for a mother who loved her little girl with all her heart. I couldn’t stop crying finding out that Johangeline had Retinoblastoma (cancer of the eyes). She would have to undergo several rounds of Chemotherapy. My world collapsed under me. I didn’t even know you could get cancer in the eyes. We were told on our tiny island of Humacao, Puerto Rico, this type of tumor was not treatable. Dr. Columbus, from the medical center there, referred us to St. Jude. We had to pick up and leave everything behind! Family, school, work, nothing mattered our lives are not filled with luxuries I knew my little girl needed to be healed. Since we have arrived here at St. Jude we have not paid for one thing. I have been able to focus on my daughter. God has blessed us and in a very short time, Johangeline will be a St. Jude miracle. We could not be more thankful for the team that fights daily for my baby girl at St. Jude. We also know through it all God is in control. We could not be more thankful for St. Jude and all those who support it.”
I believe that God placed this precious mother and daughter on my journey to St. Jude. It could have been any family, any child, instead, it was them who I now keep inside my heart.
I pray often for them and could not imagine being told any of my children had cancer. It brought a whole new perspective thinking I could be Lianisely and Charlotte could be Johangeline. I saw it, I felt it. My life will be forever changed meeting them.