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Zoie Farmer, mother of 10-year-old Hyrum, shared her family’s journey as Hyrum has battled leukemia with the help of our hospital. The following is a transcript of Zoie’s speech from September 2, when Hyundai Hope on Wheels held its "Every Handprint Tells a Story" event and presented our hospital with a $250,000 grant for childhood cancer research.
“Every Handprint Tells a Story,” and this is ours:
In the early morning hours of December 20, 2012 our family of six drove two hours to Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford. My husband dropped off Hyrum and me at these front doors, right here, and I said, “I’ll see you in a few hours.”
You see, we were just getting a few tests and we’d be on our way. That was 7 a.m. By 10 a.m., Hyrum was receiving chemotherapy. Life as we knew it had changed.
Hyrum was 7 years old when he was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia called biphenotypic. We had no idea what we were up against. And even the doctors were unsure of how exactly to proceed with his care. We prayed for them, that they would make the right decisions about his care.
On the day that Hyrum was diagnosed I wasn’t thinking about research or money. I wasn’t thinking about quality of care, or pathology reports or the latest research projects…the truth was I wasn’t thinking of anything like that.
I was thinking of my son, my family and how we were going to make it physically and emotionally through the next three years of treatment. I was feeling overwhelmed, but very hopeful. I felt that God had brought us here to this hospital with incredible doctors and nurses and countless others to watch over us. My job was to worry about what mattered most to me—my family.
The beauty of quality of care is that you don’t know its greatness because it’s running smoothly in the background. It’s like a big web that’s supporting you. It’s research projects, medical equipment, and facilities. It’s doctors and nurses that have been put in place years before your child is ever diagnosed. Each of them is vital to your experience.
It wasn’t until recently that I realized that not only had the doctors or the nurses at Stanford played an incredible part in our treatment, but the years of research and funding for that research had played a significant role in my son’s recovery. Where would we be without your help?
You see, Hyundai Hope on Wheels has been funding childhood cancer research in the United States since 1998—that’s seven years before my son was ever BORN! That research helped make it possible for him to receive the best care on that December morning in 2012. Fourteen years before we walked through that door, someone cared about us. Someone was lending us a hand that we never knew.
I know God is in the details of our lives. We have seen His hand through you reaching out to help us. Many of you we have never met personally. But you make a difference in our lives. You make a difference in the families who walk through those doors today. Each of us plays a part in that great web for support and hope.
How do you say thank you to people who save lives? How do you say thank you to people who save your child’s life?
Today Hyrum is doing well. He’s 10 years old. He says he wants to be a train engineer or an architect. He loves Legos. And he loves teasing his three little sisters. And he knows how lucky he is to be alive. And our family is stronger. We have been blessed through the bitter and sweet moments of this journey because of you.
After today, Hyrum will have completed nearly 140 weeks of chemotherapy. Think of that. 140 weeks! And only eight more weeks to go! Today, we will walk through those doors once again, and get chemo.
In the beginning, we weren’t sure how well Hyrum would do in treatment. So much was unknown about his leukemia. But I know that the road the doctors have taken was inspired and was the perfect one for our Hyrum. I’m so grateful for their service and for the countless others—doctors, nurses, researchers, and generous donors who give of their time and energy to bless my family and the lives of children and families all over the world.