I already wrote about the St. Jude experience, but now I want to tell you about something even better, the reason behind the visit. I want all of you to meet Vivienne, the beautiful, vibrant and fantastically courageous little girl that we've gotten to know first via her blog and then in person at our visit Thursday. Vivienne's mom Mary can do more justice to her story than I will begin to be able to, so please go read about it there, but I'll try and give you the Cliff's Notes version.
Vivienne is the first born daughter to her wonderful mom and dad. Her arrival was much celebrated, as any baby's always should be, and Vivi, mom and dad lived in happy new born bliss for the first two months. There were no questions as to her health or worries about her future. All of this changed after going in for Vivi's routine two month check up, when it was discovered that her head circumference was out of proportion with the rest of her size. This sparked enough concern in the doctor to suggest a head scan, and it was this scan that discovered an egg size tumor in Vivi's brain. A little while later, after the tumor showed up in her kidney as well, it was diagnosed as AT/RT, a particularly dangerous type of brain cancer when diagnosed under the age of three.
Mary and Justin took Vivi to the children's hospital located Pennsylvania, were they were told there was nothing to be done and they should enjoy the time they had left with her, which at that time was estimated to be no more than 3 months. But after researching and writing many doctors, Mary found a way to get Vivi to Memphis, where her tumor was operated on at Lebonheur and following recovery she was admitted to St. Jude as a patient.
Vivi and her family have now been in Memphis for almost 5 months, and with the help of her mom and dad, Vivi is living her life to the fullest. Seeing the living, breathing, smiling, content Vivi with my own eyes was such a beautiful thing. She and Adrienne, just weeks apart, were instant friends, and there was something so sweet about seeing the two of them interact together. Even though much of her life has been spent in a hospital, enduring chemo, recovering from surgery, and the like, none of that has taken away Vivi's sparkle. She is incredible. It's my hope that you will add her to your heart and your prayers!