Violet

The doctor said he’d never seen anything like it in 25 years. It was Sunday and out of an abundance of caution my OB had asked me to come in. We were soon looking at an ultrasound and he was worried. 

A few hours later I had an emergency C-section. The nurses showed me the baby and then literally ran her out of the room. She had an incredibly fast growing tumor on her arm that was the size of a football and bleeding. She needed four full transfusions that first night. 

And at 3 a.m. they said it was likely to be her last night. But it wasn’t. Nor was the next one. Or the next one.

Fighting this incredibly rare cancer we thought about going to Boston or New York. But the team that Hasbro Children’s put together was so dedicated that we knew they were the ones we wanted to go through this with. She was just fifteen days old when she got her first biopsy and she didn’t make it easy on them. But when the surgeon came out he said it was “just Violet being Violet.” Nurses would go on vacation and call in to check on her. These people knew our girl as well as we did.

Eight weeks in the hospital. Four sessions of chemo. Multiple surgeries. There’s really no medical reason for Violet to be alive. But she had her first birthday at home and we had 104 people there—friends, doctors, nurses.

Through all of this Harrison and Paige were the best big brother and sister Violet could have had. They had been so excited when I was pregnant with her and so worried when she was sick in the hospital. And the rest of the community rallied around us too. I missed eight months from my job at URI. But from the president of the university down, everyone gave us so much support. I don’t know how we could have done it without them.

Violet is four now and after her scans in December she was officially declared “cured.” Every year our whole family goes up to Hasbro Children’s to bring Christmas dinner to the nurses on the fifth floor. They love seeing her and say she’s turning into just the girl they expected her to be. She is doing things we never thought she’d do. She is ferocious. Tough as nails. But that isn’t a surprise to any of us who watched the fight she put up.

We are incredibly lucky. It’s beautiful to have a normal life.

—Angela (Violet’s mom), South Kingstown RI