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When Mary Beth and her son Holston go to count their blessings, they count 625 days of cancer treatments, 3 weekly therapies, 2 lucky lady bugs, and 1 Children’s Hospital.
Six-year-old Holston is no stranger to East Tennessee Children’s Hospital. Early in his life, he experienced some developmental delays with his motor and speech skills. At the young age of just 10 months, he began therapies at Children’s Hospital Rehabilitation Center. By age four, his parents started to notice a decline in Holston’s health, so they brought him to Children’s Hospital for more tests. The results were what every parent fears: Holston was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, an aggressive type of childhood cancer.
Holston’s diagnosis kicked off what would become a 700-day treatment journey. For the next two years, Holston’s visits to East Tennessee Children’s Hospital touched many departments. Along with routine chemotherapies in the oncology department and several visits to the emergency department for high fevers, Holston has also undergone a surgery on his chemo port and spent 49 days in our pediatric intensive care unit (PICU).
“It’s nice to watch each doctor and nurse attend to him and us and offer their best care each visit,” says Mary Beth, when reflecting on the many faces she’s come to know at the hospital.
“This hospital is like a jigsaw puzzle of people who support us. God has shown blessing on this hospital to provide the staff that he does. The doctors, the nurses…even the ladies who keep our room clean. Those ladies always have said something uplifting or supportive during our stays.”
It has been a privilege to watch Holston grow and heal over the years. Most days, when he visits the hospital, he brings a radiant smile, a hilarious sense of humor, and big heart full of love. On more than one occasion, he has even brought some lucky lady bugs to clinic.
The lady bugs have made regular appearances at Holston’s clinic visits ever since one accidentally accompanied him earlier this year. Holston has a deep affection for this particular insect, and Mary Beth says he was thrilled to be able to talk to the little bug while getting his finger pokes and clinic check-up. Since then, he has kept lady bugs as pets at home, and he brings them with him to the hospital in a carrier when he can.
Holston’s journey has had many twists and turns, but he will finish his treatments this December. He and Mary Beth have been counting down the days till he can celebrate. Mary Beth says she can see the return of the little boy he was before his decline in 2018, thanks to the care and support they’ve received at Children’s Hospital.
“We are grateful every day for our nurses, doctors and friends at Children’s Hospital,” Mary Beth says. “It takes special people to choose this profession. And they really are super special to us.”
We look forward to celebrating with Holston, and his family invites you to share their journey. Check back next month for a special celebration.
Did you know?
Every dollar you donate can make a huge impact on the lives of children like Holston.
What can your dollars do?
- $25 covers the cost of an off-chemo party
- $50 supplies one distracting device for a child during a painful procedure
- $100 can feed a family of four during their stay
- $250 can cover the cost of one chemotherapy treatment
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