Beat cancer, does ballet

Lillia and Hayley’s story

A little girl walks into the doctor’s office, covered head-to-toe in ballet gear. She smiles widely as she greets a familiar face. This girl’s name is Lillia and at two years old, she was diagnosed with cancer.

Lillia’s mom, Kim, started noticing flu-like symptoms when Lillia was about two and a half years old. Then one day Lillia fell and injured herself. Her mom took her to the hospital to have her examined, and a CT scan revealed cancer in Lillia’s abdomen.

For the next five months, Lillia underwent high-dose chemotherapy to counteract the cancerous cells. After five rounds of chemo and numerous extended hospital stays at Ministry Saint Joseph’s Children’s Hospital, she was ready for a stem-cell transplant.

During her chemo and subsequent radiation treatments, Lillia developed a close bond with her child life specialist, Haley Patoka. Haley stayed with Lillia to help distract her and make her comfortable during the difficult treatment process. Lillia has been out of treatment for two years now and shows no evidence of disease.

So now, as Haley sees this energetic girl walk into the doctor’s office, she is reminded of the first time she saw Lillia. She is proud of Lillia’s courageous performance through her long battle. And for Haley, there could be no better finale for this beautiful little ballerina.

Learn more about Ministry Saint Joseph’s Children’s Hospital in Marshfield.

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