Ciara loves to play outside—blowing bubbles, doing cartwheels and playing at kindergarten recess all top her list of favorite activities. Mom says she takes on a whimsical persona when she plays outside, like many young children do.
What’s different about Ciara is that, unlike most children her age, she’s been through two years of intense treatment battling leukemia, a cancer of the bone marrow. When she came down with cold symptoms and a suspicious rash two years ago, her mother—a nurse—took her straight to a neighborhood hospital. Ciara was then diagnosed and immediately transferred to Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach for specialized treatment.
Ciara’s oncologist enrolled her in a clinical trial and she was randomized to an aggressive treatment protocol at Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach. Treatment incorporated intensive chemotherapy treatments, which caused Ciara to lose her long, curly locks not just once, but twice. But, Ciara never looked back. Despite the intense treatment, she kept a great attitude. Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach nurses used distraction techniques, such as giving Ciara bubbles to play with while they used a needle to access a Port-a-Cath in her chest, to keep her upbeat. She also took advantage of the many activities Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach’s Child Life Program offers, including doing arts and crafts and even partaking in dress-up time, to keep her mind off of what her little body was going through.
Today, after more than two years, Ciara is getting her curls back and just wrapped up her final maintenance chemotherapy treatment. She’s proud to announce that she’s not only in kindergarten, but she’s cancer-free. Her parents—grateful for all that has been done for Ciara at Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach—are giving back to local families afflicted with childhood cancer by volunteering for Parents Against Cancer, a non-profit organization affiliated with the Jonathan Jaques Children’s Cancer Center at Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach.