Tuesday, May 8, 2012

An update on Olivia

I thought I'd provide an update on Olivia today.  For those who don't know the back story, Olivia is the eight year old daughter of one of my very good friends, Deanna.  Olivia's parents took her to the doctor around Jan of 2011 to investigate a bump on her forearm.  Olivia was subsequently diagnosed with Ewing Carcinoma, a form of cancer, and has been undergoing weekly chemotherapy treatments since March of 2011.

I told the story of Olivia in one of my posts during last year's Blogathon because in an effort to bring Olivia a little joy, I reached out to my Facebook friends in search of anyone who could help me get Olivia a Skype call from Disney's Belle, her favorite Disney princess.
Deanna and Olivia during our 2010 visit
You can read about how friends of Facebook friends offered to help me... on my post here.

A year later, Olivia seems to be doing great!  She still hasn't been able to attend school.  She's now missed every day of school for over a year...something that's very hard on a first and now second grader. 

I traveled to Olivia's home in March and was fortunate to get to visit her at home that day.  Her counts were low and her parents weren't allowing any visitors (a common occurrence to avoid Olivia picking up germs), but they allowed me to visit if I took a shower immediately as I entered their home.  I happily obliged.

We spent most of a Sunday playing UNO and chatting.  I also got a chance to catch up with her mom which was a different kind of medicine - for us both!

I left their home thinking what an amazing family.  From Olivia's14 year old brother who has had his life turned upside down as well, to Deanna's husband, to Deanna and little Olivia, they ALL are so positive and cheerful.  You would never know that they are living through a major family crisis.  They are a testament to the power of positive thinking and having faith in God.

Olivia finished her last round of chemo about two weeks ago.  A glorious moment for them all!  But currently Olivia's counts are low and she's fighting a bug which has given her some bad days.  Once her counts are up, Olivia will return for a final check-up.  They are hopeful that the doctors will give her a clean bill of health.

Besides loving Disney's princesses (Olivia's room is all pink by the way...girly girl all the way), Olivia also loves Build-A-Bear.  For special occasions, her parents would take her to Build-A-Bear.

About a month or so ago, Olivia came up with the idea to save her money to make a Build-A-Bears, take them to the hospital where she's been treated and give the bears to other children who are undergoing chemo as well.  Olivia then reached out on her Caring Bridge page to ask friends and family to donate to her "foundation."

For those unfamiliar, Caring Bridge provides free websites that connect people, experiencing significant health challenges, to family and friends.  It offers a personal and private space for others to communicate and show support and it provides a convenient way for the family involved to keep friends/family updated on the person's progress.

Olivia wrote on her Caring Bridge page:
Hi this is Olivia sooooooooooooo sorry I haven't wrote I want to tell you about something I want to make foundation I love build a bears so I want to give BAB to the kids if you would like to make any donation please do so does this sound good to you guys your friend Olivia 

Olivia has since delivered several bears to children at the hospital.  Her dad has stepped in many times and made the bears for Olivia when her counts were too low to leave the house. He's quite the trooper! :)

Olivia's generosity was featured yesterday on the Joe DiMaggio's Children's Hospitals Facebook page yesterday!  What an inspiration she is!!!

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