The circle has come full circle: a childhood cancer story about acute myeloid leukemia


When children are diagnosed with cancer, health care providers often have a profound effect on the lives of their families. For example, the family of a little girl named Maggie who was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) while growing up in Cornwall, England formed a bond with two nurses who would transcend Maggie’s time at the hospital, reports The Washington Post.

Indeed, Maggie’s parents were so grateful that they named a child after her nurses. But these nurses didn’t find out until 17 years later.

When, during her treatment, Maggie suffered from anaphylaxis in response to a chemotherapy drug, nurses Charlotte Higby and Charlie gave her adrenaline to keep her airways from closing and “basically saved her life. Maggie’s father, Martin Dorey, said.

Maggie’s mother was pregnant at the time and after this crisis, she and her husband decided to name their newborn baby Charlotte – and nicknamed her “Charlie” – an honor that nurses only discovered near. two decades later.

The revelation became public after Dorey announced he dropped her daughter off at her college dorm in a tweet. “Dropped out Maggie in college [university] in Bristol today. From his new room you can see the Bristol Children’s Hospital room [Bristol Royal Hospital for Children] where, 17 years earlier, she had spent six months fighting for her life with leukemia, ”he wrote. “Tears of joy. Thank you, NHS (National Health Service).”

Maggie’s cancer, acute myeloid leukemia, aka acute myelogenous leukemia, begins in the bone marrow, the soft inner core of specific bones from which new blood cells originate. AML can quickly enter the bloodstream and spread to different areas of the body. Children with the disease can be treated with chemotherapy, radiation therapy, biological therapy, and antibiotics.

Higby saw the message and responded with good wishes to his former patient. Dorey asked her if she was one of the nursing duo who helped Maggie when she suffered from anaphylaxis in reaction to the chemo.

It was then that Higby learned that Dorey had named her youngest daughter Charlie, after her colleague.

Dorey then sent her a picture of her two daughters together to which Higby replied, “What gorgeous girls!”

“Nursing in this area [cancer] You often don’t quite know how things turned out, so seeing Maggie go off to college is incredibly special, ”observed Higby. “Beyond nurses and doctors, there are often invisible staff, including cleaners, carriers, pathology staff, pharmacists, physiotherapists. [physical therapists], play therapists and many more.

The Twitter thread sparked a flood of personal stories from family members with loved ones who are cancer survivors. “The reaction to the tweet has been quite overwhelming,” said Dorey.

Now 18-year-old Maggie is in remission and enrolled at the University of the West of England in Bristol. The sight of her dorm on the hospital where she spent so much time is a reminder that the whole family shared this journey against cancer. “It felt like we had come full circle,” he said. “It was an important moment in Maggie’s life.”

Dorey turned the huge public response into a fundraising opportunity for several organizations that help children with serious illnesses. “There are children who are still diagnosed and parents who are going through horrible things,” he said. “Never take anything for granted. Be grateful for everything you have.

For another compelling personal story about an AML survivor, read “A Journal of Acute Myeloid Leukemia: Siri Lindley”.

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