A Florida hospital celebrated a new patient’s birthday, despite Hurricane Irma.
Willow Stine’s family learned she had leukemia two days before the storm hit, on the same day as her third birthday, her mom Jennifer Newman told ABC News.
Newman stayed at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg with Willow while her husband and other daughter were at home, more than 40 miles away, braving the storm.
“It was terrifying,” said Newman of Wesley Chapel, Florida. “It was like my heart being ripped in two trying to process my baby having cancer and my other baby, afraid that she would be hurt. Thank god it wasn’t what it was supposed to be. My heart goes out to the people in Key West. We are thankful that we didn’t sustain as much damage as predicted.”
Newman said that Willow, 3, was diagnosed with leukemia on Sept. 8 after a routine doctor’s visit. That same day, she was admitted to John Hopkins’ oncology ward and prepped for treatment.
On Sept. 10, Willow’s third birthday, nurses surprised the girl with cake, balloons and presents.
“They had about 10 to 15 nurses come in and staff sang ‘Happy Birthday,'” Newman said. “She had been very sick the first two days she was here and she was laughing and smiling. It was a the only bright spot that entire weekend.”
The hospital staff knew the family had been through a lot recently…