The Bumpus Family Journey and Letter of Thanks
The following letter was sent in by Trish Bumpus, mother of Lilly Bumpus, a little girl who was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma (a rare bone cancer) before she was 4 months old.
Dear team of doctors, nurses and Child Life specialists in the Division of Hematology/Oncology,
Thank you to the physicians, nursing staff and Child Life team in Anderson Pavilion’s 4 West Oncology Unit for inspiring us every day to kick cancer’s butt! We are different people because of you all, and we have a happy, healthy toddler because of YOU!
Six Days Old: Lilly’s Journey Begins
Our Lilly was born on July 19, 2012 in San Luis Obispo, Calif. When Lilly was 6 days old I discovered a bump on her chest. She underwent an X-ray and ultrasound and we were told the bump was nothing but a hemangioma and it should get bigger before it went away. As her mother, I knew it wasn't a hemangioma. By the time she was 3 months old the bump was the size of a golf ball. We had to “go to war” to get her the testing we knew she needed and when we did, she was diagnosed with stage 2 Ewing’s sarcoma at 4 months old.
Battling Ewings Sarcoma and Finding Family
Our Lilly underwent 14 rounds of chemo and eight surgeries. One of the surgeries involved a portion of her chest being taken out. But, through the chemo and surgeries, our Lilly had a smile on her face and courage in her heart. I think this has to do with who she was surrounded by. The Oncology team at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles felt like home. The nurses became our family and other patient families were family as well. I remember a night while Lilly was getting chemo and was very sick; I was having a hard time watching my daughter go through this. I told the nurse Jamie, "This will never end." She turned to me and hugged me, and said:
"Trisha, one day you will look back on this time and not believe you did it, but you will. You will have a healthy, talking, walking little girl going into kindergarten and know that nothing will ever stand in the way of what you want—your daughter to live," she said.
Jamie’s statement will go with me forever. The strength, love and hope the nurses instill in families are magical. They help cure cancer not just with medicine but with their unfailing hope.
Lilly’s Destiny and Being Cancer-Free
My Lilly absolutely loved the nurses and was a happier baby because of them. Ever since Lilly was diagnosed with cancer I refused to say “everything happens for a reason.” I refuse to believe my daughter was given so much pain and suffering for a reason. But I can say one thing; it was her destiny to be raised around the nurses and doctors at Children's Hospital Los Angeles. The love, devotion, hope, faith, selflessness and friendship they surrounded Lilly and our family with helped us beat cancer.
The Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Division of Hematology, Oncology and Blood and Marrow Transplantation will always be home and the nurses and doctors always family. Our Lilly is now five months cancer-free and she enjoys coming to visit her friends (aka nurses and other staff). We will raise her to know these people are family, people who CHANGE LIVES and the people who saved her life. Some people might say it’s a blessing she was diagnosed so young so she won't remember. I disagree because I will never let her forget where she came from—Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Our miracle wouldn’t be one without the miracle man, David Tishler, MD. Dr. Tishler is Lilly's oncologist and our family’s miracle worker. We knew the second we met him that our daughter was in the best of hands. We knew he would give Lilly the world if it was possible and he did!
Dr. Tishler never gave up on our Lilly despite the fact that her cancer is so rare. That fact did not stand in his way making Lilly cancer-free. He will always hold a special place in our and our family’s hearts.
Child Life Specialists Helped us Feel Normal
When you are faced with news that your child has cancer, you feel like you are alone and fighting a war. The second we walked into Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and met her oncology team, made up of doctors, nurses and Child Life specialists, that feeling of being alone went away. The Child Life Program gave us a feeling of normalcy and gave us something to look forward to. We would go to almost every playroom time excited to interact with other families. We would do art projects and feel like a normal family for a couple hours each day. The Child Life Program saved my own sanity as a mom experiencing my daughter battling cancer. The Child Life specialists are helping, loving and caring. Their daily mission is to bring joy into your life and your fighting child's life. These people truly saved my family.
If you are interested in supporting the Child Life Program at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles in honor of Lilly Bumpus, visit the Team Lilly Supporting Child Life at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles fundraising page! It’s our goal to establish a Child Life endowment in Lilly’s name.
My Lilly beat cancer with a smile on her face, with much thanks to the Oncology team. Now that our Lilly is in remission, it is our mission to bring smiles and happiness into the halls of the Oncology Unit. Through Lilly's Facebook Page and Instagram we have established a large support team committed to the same mission and ready to fight childhood cancer. Team Lilly fights the war with these kids. We will continue to support, love and instill hope in Lilly's fighting friends. We are honored to be a part of the Oncology team at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and work to bring smiles to the bravest kids. Lilly has their back and won't give up!
Thank you to the amazing team of doctors and nurses and the Child Life Program for changing our lives, for instilling hope and inspiration, and most of all—saving our Lilly.
The Bumpus Family