Young Patients Lean on Lifelong Friendship at Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida
Childhood cancer is an uphill battle for the whole family. Successfully navigating the uncertain, tumultuous journey through such a serious disease requires a strong support network.
Exceptional medical care from highly trained and experienced healthcare professionals is an important part of that network. Serving on the frontlines, the doctors and nurses at Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida provide exceptional round-the-clock care to their young patients. A team of child life specialists at the hospital care for every child’s emotional and physical development in the face of their disease, while also minimizing the stress of the hospital experience for the whole family.
But when it comes to the day-to-day struggles of a young cancer patient, the helping hand of friendship can make all the difference. No one knows this better than lifelong friends Jordan DeLorenzo and Kadin Williams.
Six-year-old Kadin woke up feeling sick one morning in April 2018, and his mother Amanda rushed him to Golisano Children’s Hospital for emergency pediatric care. As they entered the emergency room, Amanda was floored to find one of Kadin’s friends, Jordan DeLorenzo, already sitting in the waiting area with his mother Christina. The two boys knew each other from school. In fact, Jordan’s mother Christina had served as Kadin’s preschool teacher.
“Christina has been part of my kids’ lives from the very beginning. It’s ironic that, within days of each other, our kids were diagnosed with cancer,” said Amanda. “That day was beyond devastating. You know where you are; you know this isn’t good. And then we look at each other, dumbfounded,” Amanda remembered. “It was a sudden, unspoken bond between two moms that already know each other. There’s a realization that this is real.”
What are the odds?
As the moms bonded over their shared experience, the two boys quickly reconnected and kept each other in good spirits during treatments at Golisano Children’s Hospital.
Jordan’s difficult diagnosis of T-Cell acute lymphocytic leukemia meant intensive treatments that hit his body hard. “He’s had it all: chemo, blood transfusions, platelets, chemo in the spinal cord… He’s been sick, had fevers, and been completely out of it, in a coma-like state. It’s been a battle,” shared Christina.
Kadin, just a few doors down, would often walk to Jordan’s room following his own treatments. “He’d encourage Jordan and try to get him up and walking so that Jordan could go home too. It helped that they could be there for each other,” recalled Amanda.
At Christmas time that year, Jordan’s hospital room was decorated festively including Christmas tree. Because Jordan wasn’t well enough to leave for Christmas parties, Kadin brought gifts to Golisano Children’s Hospital and celebrated with his friend. “That meant a lot to both families,” said Amanda.
In time, both Kadin and Jordan’s cancers entered remission. Kadin is once again an energetic, happy eight-year-old, who dreams of one day becoming a police officer. Jordan is also looking and feeling healthy. “You would never know he had cancer. He’s gained the weight back and he has hair. He’s back,” Christina beamed.
Although they no longer live a few hospital rooms apart, the boys have remained close. “We see each other at events and we support each other. For the kids and parents, it’s a connection and common bond as we share our stories. We live all over Southwest Florida, so these events bring us together,” said Christina. “We all want to help the team at Golisano. They saved our kids,” she added.
Amanda couldn’t agree more. “At Golisano, you are family. You matter. Everyone from the receptionist and security to the nurses and doctors treats you like you’re their family. It’s an incredible feeling, that support and love you can’t describe. I can’t say enough about how much I love the Golisano team and the doctors.”
“I don’t know what we’d have done without them,” Christina added.
Golisano Children’s Hospital has served the families of Southwest Florida from its location in the heart of Fort Myers, and its clinics in Naples and Port Charlotte. The recovery rate at Golisano Children’s Hospital surpasses the national average, and families may also receive financial relief from Barbara’s Friends, Golisano’s cancer fund.
Barbara’s Friends exists to help kids with cancer and life-threatening blood disorders, making sure that every family needing critical oncology and pediatric services do not have to leave home for world-class care. Learn more about Barbara’s Friends at BarbarasFriends.org.
Each September, in honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, Golisano Children’s Hospital hosts an annual Clips for Cancer fundraiser to benefit Barbara’s Friends and the families who are will need life-saving care at Golisano Children’s Hospital.
This year, the event is going virtual! Don’t miss your chance to support Jordan and Kadin as they participate in this incredibly meaningful fundraiser. Proceeds from each virtual session will be used to assist with the needs of patients and families, clinical trials, counseling, equipment, facilities, staffing and family support.