September, which is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, came to a close with more than a dozen patients completing their cancer treatment at USA Health Children’s & Women’s Hospital.
More than a dozen pediatric patients from USA Health Children's & Women's Hospital participated in an outdoor bell ringing ceremony last Thursday.
The day held special meaning for many of the young patients, their parents and caregivers, as it marked the end of cancer treatment and the beginning of a new chapter in their lives. One patient in particular – who had a port removed from his chest just hours before the ceremony – was filled with emotion as he pulled down on the rope and the bell chimed.
A few moments later, he hugged his mom tight and grinned for dozens of photos.
This year's bell ringing, on Sept. 28, was spaced out over a two-hour period so that each patient and family had an opportunity to ring the large bronze bell in the hospital's courtyard as they reunited with caregivers. The former patients ranged in age from infants and toddlers to tweens and teenagers.
The bell ringing ceremony is held each September, which is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Every two minutes somewhere in the world, a child is diagnosed with cancer, research shows, while one in 285 children growing up in the United States will develop cancer.
USA Health, the only academic health system on the upper Gulf Coast, treats children with cancer using a multidisciplinary approach that includes board-certified physicians, advanced practice providers, therapists, nurses and child life specialists who focus on caring for patients and supporting their families through a journey that sometimes can span several years.