Hi, my name is Aaryn! I am a member of the Family Relations committee this year, but my Journey with Children’s National started 5 years ago when I was diagnosed with advanced stage cancer.
I could tell you everything cancer took from me. I could tell you how it took my freedom, my innocence, and my carefree youth. But I choose to tell you something different.
Cancer cannot take away how I choose to use my finite gift of time. Cancer cannot take away how I choose to bless others with my gift of health. Cancer cannot prevent me from being a force of positivity and a voice and an advocate for wellness and health. Cancer cannot stop me from bringing comfort and peace and happiness to those experiencing fear and conflict and sadness.
I have made a conscious choice to return to the place where I finally received answers and care, because I want to make sure my legacy of wellness and giving prevails. That place is Children’s National Medical Center. It is at Children’s National Medical Center where the staff shared their finite gift of time with me. It is the fabulous Children’s National family who brought me comfort and peace and happiness during those hours and weeks and months when I was filled with fear and conflict and sadness.
When I tutor patients at Children’s National, I’m sharing the gift of my mind; when I hold a newborn baby in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, I’m sharing my gift of comfort. And when I dress up as Dr. Bear and dance through the hallways of the inpatient units, I’m spreading my legacy of warmth and happiness.
Sometimes when I volunteer, I see a mother and I recognize a familiar look in her eyes, one that my own mother often had when I was a patient at Children’s.
I look for an opportunity to engage with that mom and do anything to bring her comfort. Even if it’s simply watching her child for a few minutes while she takes a break or bringing her a cup of coffee.
And as I walk past the Terp Thon bear station in the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, I think of how far we’ve come, and how far we can go. Since 2010, Terp Thon has raised over four million dollars!!! Because of the money students like you have raised, Children’s National can continue to provide hope to families who need it most.
Terp Thon brings light during the darkest times in these family’s lives. I have experienced and witnessed that light firsthand. I’d like to challenge each of you to continuing being that light by helping Miracle Kids and their families face these obstacles head-on and move past. To our Children’s National Health System family, thank you for walking with me and the Miracle Kids and the families of the Miracle kids through our longest hours.