10/8/18 and 10/12/18
Location: Rocoo Altobelli’s Salon and Ronald McDonald House/Apache Mall (Rochester, MN)
# of Family Members: 4 – Lila, brother, mom and dad
Other attendees: Miss Minnesota USA Kalie Wright
Lila had a week to remember, as these special events coincided with her final week of treatment before heading back to Mississippi. I met Lila’s mom at one of our hospital events in June, and Miss Lila was unable to attend, as she was isolated to her room for many months in the middle of her intense treatment for AML Leukemia. The ten year old’s story was so incredible – she not only survived the treatments and cancer battle, but grew and found many talents in the isolated room, and was one of the most positive kids ever, according to her mom. She even passed fourth grade on the A honor roll in the middle of it all. I found out in person just how incredible she is.
We set Lila and her mother Heather up with a spa day at a local salon in Rochester, where they received manicures, pedicures, facials, attention to their hair, makeup, and were pampered to the fullest. I made a trip to catch them at the salon, though they got called away early for an unplanned appointment. I met them at the Ronald McDonald House later that afternoon and talked with Lila and Heather for an hour or two. She really was an incredible ten-year-old, social and sharing all about her story and how ‘it could always be worse.’ Her perspective on life was inspiring, refreshing and really had an impact. Before I left, I presented her with a gift bag, including a shopping card to the mall, where she was heading four days later, the day before she went home.
On Friday, Miss MN, Kalie Wright, arrived at the Ronald McDonald House to meet Lila and her family and friends. Miss MN, Lila, and Lila’s mom, dad, and brother were all picked up by a limousine and driven to the mall for lunch and fashion. Lila had her own person shopping attendant! The pictures show the fun and excitement that was had. It really was a wonderful way to send Lila off to her home, hopefully having her negative memories overwhelmed by the wonderful experience of her final week. The Miss MN team has even invited Lila to attend the Miss MN USA Pageant. This was such a blessing to share with the family, and such a wonderful story to watch unfold with the pictures.
The family events were a huge success, and we look forward to continuing to serve those who are so deserving.