September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and we are checking back in with Starlight Kid Henry, who was diagnosed with B-cell leukemia on January 7, 2020.
He spent 24 days at Erlanger Children’s Hospital in Tennessee, and his mom tells us that the Starlight Nintendo Gaming station was one of the best things to help pass the long days.
Henry loves video games and all things Nintendo. He had a Mario-themed birthday party for his 4th birthday and he and his dad dressed up as Mario and Bowser during his chemotherapy treatment.
“Everything happened so suddenly. We weren’t prepared to go to the hospital and didn’t bring anything, so that was the first time he played the Mario games on your stations,” Patricia said. “He was able to entertain himself.”
The good news is that Henry is in remission. But, like most children with cancer, he continues to go to weekly appointments and will receive maintenance treatment until May of 2022.
The hospital staff at Erlanger love Henry and the silliness and joy he exudes. Ashley, one of his child life specialists, makes sure that the Starlight Gaming station and Starlight Virtual Reality are available to use when he’s admitted.
“As soon as the Gaming station rolls into the room, he’s so excited about it,” said Patricia, Henry’s mom. “It’s good for the parents too because when he’s not scared or screaming, it just makes the process so much easier when you don’t see your child scared.”
Patricia said having a child with cancer means some days are good, and other days are more challenging when the medicines have awful side effects. But one thing she’s noticed is that he never complains.