'That was the first time that I think I had seen her so happy.'
According to U.S. Childhood Cancer Statistics, 1 in 285 children are diagnosed with cancer before they turn 20. Though the survival rates have improved, cancer remains the most common cause of death by disease among children in the U.S. Time spent in treatment is stressful and painful for the kids as well as the families. So to be deemed cancer free and no longer require chemo is a huge relief to everyone involved. St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, organizes a "no more chemo" party for children and their parents when they complete the treatment.
Four-year-old Kyla had "an aggressive" brain tumor when she first came to St. Jude, and that particular diagnosis has a significant chance of "treatment failure and recurrence." After being in therapy for more than eight months, test results revealed that Kyla's tumor had reacted remarkably to treatment and it was therefore time to send her home. For her "no more chemo" party, Kyla wanted her doctor, Dr. Santosh Upadhyaya to dress up. She was happily surprised when her doctor showed up as a pink unicorn, reports PEOPLE. According to Joni Holdiness, a neuro-oncology care coordinator at St. Jude, Kyla's mother brought in a pink unicorn outfit for the doctor. She added, "We had all talked about it, but they did not know until the day that she had actually gotten the outfit."
Kyla was "super excited" to see her doctor dressed up as a unicorn. Dr. Upadhyaya, a pediatric neuro-oncologist, said, "I was just wondering how Kyla is going to react and, is she even going to recognize me in this outfit? That was the first time that I think I had seen her so happy." He said that his "biggest joy" was seeing Kyla's smile when he entered the room. The moment was caught on video and has been doing rounds on social media. In the video, the physician entered the space while decked out in an inflatable costume before giving his cheerful tutu-clad patient a big embrace. After that, the group performs a song especially for Kyla, concluding with the line "pack up your bags, get out the door - you don't get chemo anymore."
The doctor even walked around the hospital in his unicorn outfit for other kids. "It was just a great fun day," said Holdiness. "No more chemo" parties hold a lot of significance for children who complete their treatment. Dr. Upadhyaya said, "It's not just a celebration for them. It is kind of many a times the feeling, 'Okay now we have conquered the cancer and hopefully this will not come back.' " The party is hosted by doctors, nurses and other medical staff of the hospital.
The heartwarming video has more than 200,000 views on Facebook and has triggered several reactions from people. Many praised the hospital and Dr. Upadhyaya for providing the best care possible to children with cancer. A user wrote in the comments section, "Great organization and deserving of your monetary support. God bless Danny and his daughter for their great contribution to children."
The famous research hospital's upcoming Thanks and Giving campaign, which runs through the Christmas season, will begin in November in addition to the "no more chemo" parties. Celebrities and influencers are urged to support patients and their families over the holiday shopping season as part of the yearly campaign.