CeCe’s Journey: The story of one Mary Bridge Children’s patient
Every story has a beginning, middle and end.
Most patient stories are told at the end — in other words, when a cancer patient has finished chemo treatment, a stroke survivor is back on track with daily life or a bariatric patient has successfully completed surgery.
What about the middle, though? That’s really where the heart of a story lies. What would it be like to experience that alongside a patient, their caregivers and family?
We were lucky enough to find a family who welcomed us, again and again, to their daughter’s appointments, their home and some very special, personal moments in their lives.
But the story isn’t about us — it’s about Cecile Snyder, a spunky, silly, brave and wonderful patient at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital & Health Network. And it’s about the Mary Bridge Children’s doctors, nurses and other caregivers who have been with her since the start.
Cecile, who goes by CeCe, has Down syndrome. She also has cancer — acute lymphoblastic leukemia. She was diagnosed February 2018 and is still undergoing chemotherapy treatment.
As you can imagine, having a child with cancer is a heart-wrenching and difficult journey. Add to that CeCe’s developmental challenges, which incidentally make her more sensitive to cancer treatment, and it gets ever more complex.
But you would never guess that, spending time with the family. Carla and Jeff Snyder are kind, upbeat and always laughing. CeCe clearly takes after them. It’s impossible not to smile with them. And everyone at Mary Bridge Children’s would agree.
CeCe’s favorite oncologist, Robert Irwin, MD, says cases like CeCe’s are the reason he got into oncology.
“CeCe is very complex, medically, to care for,” Dr. Irwin says. “On a personal level, she is delightful and engaging and very refreshing to care for. So having both of those in a single patient … this is exactly why I became an oncologist to care for kids with cancer.”
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About The Author
Roxanne Cooke tells stories in words, photos and video. She manages Vitals, Kite Strings and Bring Happy Back, plus special projects such as CeCe's Journey, 24 Hours at Tacoma General Hospital and The Healthy Futures Project. You can reach her at [email protected]More stories by this author