Tiffany heard the words no parent should ever have to experience. “Your daughter has cancer.” In 2019, two-year-old Demi, a spunky, full of life little girl was admitted to the hospital for discomfort in her stomach, just to find out moments later, that it was something much worse.
Just shy of her third birthday, Demi was diagnosed with Acute B Cell Leukemia at Children’s Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga, TN. After the unexpected diagnosis, she had to spend 29 days in the hospital for chemo.
Tiffany recalls a challenging and uncomfortable week for Demi during her battle against cancer.
“Unfortunately, she started having a fever ... and then they admitted us. We just couldn’t figure out what the fever was from. Two common viruses showed up on her blood panel — but the fever just wouldn't leave and she had no neutrophils left due to the cancer.”
Having a low neutrophil count is the biggest risk factor for getting a serious infection,and pediatric patients are at an even higher risk.
During her time at Children’s Erlanger Hospital, Demi LOVED playing with Starlight Gaming stations — usually facing off with her older brothers. This was a great way to pass the time. And she especially loved receiving new toys donated by Starlight.
Every year, Starlight Deliveries sends hundreds of thousands of books, toys, games, arts & crafts, and other items directly to seriously ill kids. Thanks to the generosity of our corporate partners, we’re able to deliver these products at no cost to our network of more than 800 hospitals across the US.
Activities and toys keep boredom at bay and let kids just be kids — even in extraordinary circumstances.
After two years of taking antibiotics every night, weekly visits to the clinic for blood work, and unexpected overnight stays at the hospital, Demi is now in remission!
The last time Starlight spoke to Tiffany, her family was planning Demi’s 5thbirthday party — a No More Chemo-themed affair.
Demi, wearing her crafter hat, was hard at work creating charms for the party with the charm necklace maker that Starlight donated.
While Demi will continue to have routine check-ups with her doctors, we know that Demi will continue to be a bright spot in her family's life.
“Demi is sassy, bossy, all-girl. She is full of energy...she’s precious. She has two big brothers and she holds her own. They love her to death but she doesn’t let them get away with anything. She loves anything girly.” —Tiffany, Demi’s mother
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, which is a time to raise awareness and acknowledge the thousands of children and their families who are dealing with a cancer diagnosis. Like Demi, these kids spend countless hours in hospitals away from family, friends, and all the things that makes being a kid special.
This Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, make an impact on the lives of kids, like Demi — because every child deserves a happy childhood.