In the summer of 2021, Starlight Kid Emma’s parents took her to the doctor for a simple ankle injury. However, her pediatrician noticed her coloring looked off and, after some lab work, her parents learned devastating news: Emma had acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Her white blood levels were so concerning she was immediately taken to the emergency room at Mercy Children’s Hospital in St. Louis for a blood transfusion. The next day she was admitted to the hospital and started chemo.
From there, her family began a cancer journey as Emma went through months of treatments, testing, and hospitalizations. Through it all, the Starlight Radio Flyer Hero Wagon has been the one bright spot in her hospital stays.
"Her favorite thing to do when she's admitted or over on Test and Treatment is to go on wagon rides,” says Emma’s mom, Laura. “That's the one thing that we can do every time, to pass the time and to keep her happy and help just keep her as comfortable as possible during treatments."
Like many kids, Emma first used the Hero Wagon in a moment of need. For hours before a general anesthesia procedure, Emma was not allowed to eat or drink and started getting understandably upset. Her amazing nurses offered her a wagon ride to help distract her, and Emma immediately accepted. After that, she was hooked.
“Ever since then, any time Emma is at Test and Treatment, they have the wagon ready for her,” says Emma’s dad, Billy. “They know that’s what her thing is. Even when we’re up on the floor, if the nurses can’t find us in our room, they listen for the music and they find us in the wagon.”