Written By: Lovely, Mom of Starlight Kid, Kyrell
As a nurse by profession, I was surrounded by the evidence that illness does not discriminate against age, gender, lifestyle, or background. Even so, I was completely unprepared for my child to become the patient.
In 2018, my son, Kyrell, was diagnosed with lymphoblastic leukemia after presenting with body pains, headaches, and weakness. I can still remember when the doctor came into Kyrell’s hospital room — I immediately knew there was something bigger going on with his health. That’s when we found out he had cancer.
Being a parent is an incredible responsibility — you are there to comfort and support your child through everything. In their happiest times, their lowest times, or their weakest times, you have to be there. You must give them strength to process and push through every moment, and I had to teach myself how to be that support system for Kyrell.
But little did I know how much Kyrell would teach me.
After finding out about his diagnosis, we cried together. As Kyrell wiped his tears, he looked at me and said, “Okay, now we know what's going on? How can we fix it?" His strength amazed me.
His treatment caused him to spend lots of time in the hospital and, at first, it was not a fun place for him. It was the hospital, not home. Thankfully, the Child Life team at Advocate Children’s Hospital introduced him to Starlight Gaming.
The Starlight Nintendo Gaming Station not only gave Kyrell an opportunity to do something he enjoyed doing, but also a chance to play games with his brothers like they were able to before Kyrell got sick. Between the Gaming Stations and the comfortable Starlight Gowns, Starlight brought my son happiness by providing him comfort and a sense of ease through an extremely difficult experience for all of us.
In a situation where we had little control, the support from organizations like Starlight meant the world to me. In a time when happiness was hard to come by, Starlight gave my son a reason to smile.
Every year, Starlight programs support millions of kids and their families, just like Kyrell and Lovely. From isolated illness to lifelong medical challenges, every child who visits the hospital deserves a helping hand. With your support, Starlight can reach even more hospitalized kids across the US and ensure that they have a reason to smile during their most difficult moments.
Give today to bring comfort to parents and guardians like Lovely as they support their child through serious illness.