Hi! My name is Cristina Scalzo and just a year ago at the age of 16 I was diagnosed with ALL (acute lymphocytic leukemia). This year has been quite an interesting experience for me and my family. I am happy to say I am officially in remission and successfully transitioned back into normal life.
When I first was diagnosed, I spent the week in a daze in a Seattle Children’s hospital room. My family and I decided to get treatment at Children’s because of their phenomenal success rate and how considerate they are not only of your physical health but also your mental and spiritual well being.
During the following months of my treatment I spent countless weeks in the SCCA rooms. My family and friends would visit often. With so many people coming and going, the small and sometimes shared rooms became overcrowded. Cancer is a hard and tiring battle to fight, and sometimes I just wanted to lay down and cry. Having to share a room with someone during these trying and emotional times was often very hard. With the expansion taking place, each patient will have their own private room. Having this luxury will only make the experience easier for the patients and their families.
The hardest part of my journey were the weeks when I would sit in a hospital room knowing my friends were off having a grand time while I was stuck in bed. Part of the new expansion project includes a floor just for teens. Having an entire floor dedicated to teens going through what I am going through will not only encourage patients but also give them a place to make lifelong friends. It will be a place where we can all forget our troubles and just have fun.
Having cancer is one of the most difficult things we will ever face as teens and the times where we can have fun and just be normal are what keeps us fighting the fight. The expansion project does just that; it shows us how much Children’s really cares about us.