Like many 4-year olds, Mia enjoys Barbies, princesses, Roblox, and playing with her brothers. Also, like many her age during this challenging time, Mia is starting virtual Pre-K this fall. However, unlike her peers, Mia is undergoing treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), after being diagnosed in July 2019.
Battling cancer during COVID-19 means that Mia and her entire family must be even more vigilant about infection control and social distancing, especially this school year. Not only will Mia be doing virtual preschool, but her two older brothers, TJ and Andrew, have also elected to do school from home. Additionally, all of the children’s social activities, including the boys’ sports teams, are on hold has well.
“We have to take a lot of precautions with our health given the uncertain times,” shared Mia’s mom, Lorraine. “But we have received so much support from the doctors and nurses at the Children’s Cancer Institute. They are so caring, and we are grateful that, with treatment, Mia will be okay.”
Though there are added difficulties when undergoing treatment during a pandemic, Associate Director of the Hackensack Meridian Children’s Cancer Institute Burton Appel, M.D. notes that there are some benefits to the heightened concern for infection control. Mask-wearing and frequent handwashing have become a universal practice, and home instruction is easier to arrange and as efficient as ever.
“COVID-19 means our patients and their families need to be even more careful with their health,” said Dr. Appel. “But staying vigilant as we continue to provide their treatment is the best way to maintain the health and safety of our patients.”