Atia was a strong, courageous walker by 17 months. Then she had an unusual fall, where she crumpled to the ground. She reverted to crawling for the rest of the night, and began experiencing fevers and convulsive shakes. Her diagnosis was every parent's worst nightmare: cancer had invaded little Atia's body.
Two years later, fighting cancer is all Atia has ever known. She doesn't realize that her juice tastes the way it does is because it contains crushed up medication. She doesn't know that 3-year-olds aren't supposed to feel achy all the time. It's painful to see a child with cancer, and people usually look away. But Atia is a bright and smiley child, and she's showing cancer and everyone around her just how brave she is.
There is nothing good about cancer, but it has connected Atia and her parents with the doctors and nurses at Comer Children's Hospital at the University of Chicago, their local Together for Kids Hospital. Atia's parents say they now consider the doctors and nurses who have cared for Atia part of their family. As experts at treating the child, not just the disease, they communicate with Atia about her treatment and care in a way that a 3-year-old can understand.
Atia has a doll cuddled into her arms everywhere she goes. And, like any girl who's had to live much of her life in a hospital, Atia listens to her doll's heart, takes her blood pressure, gives her shots, and sometimes has to access a chemotherapy port in her doll's chest. She often says she wants to be a doctor when she grows up so she too can treat children with cancer.
On July 10 Atia will undergo her final chemotherapy treatment. Her parents tell her everything will taste better when she's done.
Each and every day kids like Atia require expert care from pediatric specialists at this and other Together for Kids hospitals. When you support Together for Kids you give Atia, and kids like her, every chance to live a healthy life.