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Restaurant opens up early so 3-year-old with cancer can enjoy meal of a lifetime with family

Little Adelaide was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, which meant she could not eat in public. Her favorite restaurant decided to help her power through her treatment.

Restaurant opens up early so 3-year-old with cancer can enjoy meal of a lifetime with family
Image Source: Vanlam Nguyen/Facebook

When you get diagnosed with a deadly disease, the hardest part can be letting go of the little freedoms that you enjoyed every day. With a cancer diagnosis, your life revolves around hospitals, treatments, and doctors. Sometimes, you might even forget you had a life outside of the four walls of a treatment room, where you were able to spend time with your friends or visit your favorite restaurant. After three-year-old Adelaide Nguyen was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, she had to bid farewell to J. Wilson's, her favorite local restaurant. To make her feel special, the restaurant opened up an hour early as a treat, 11 Alive reports.




Last month, little Adelaide's family was driving through an intersection in Beaumont, Texas, when she saw her favorite restaurant, J. Wilson's. She piped up from the back seat and asked her father a simple question. Her mother Vanlam explained, "She recognized the sign and from the backseat she said, 'Daddy, can we go eat there?'" On any other occasion, the question probably wouldn't be that heartbreaking. However, ever since the three-year-old was told last year that she had Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, a rare form of cancer, she hasn't been allowed out in public. Little red spots began cropping up on Adelaide's body, which is what prompted the visit to the hospital. She was sadly diagnosed on her third birthday. Vanlam said, "I haven't seen this in a very long time. To any parent who hears a doctor say that, your heart just stops." For the last seven months, all she's known is hospital rooms and the Nguyen household.




"I can't even talk about it without tearing up," her mother continued, describing what it was like to say no to her youngest daughter. "But it hurt. The isolation is very hard, not just for the kid themselves but a lot of [the] family functions you do come to a halt." According to Vanlam, Adelaide spent Halloween at home while other kids were out trick or treating. She also spent New Year's in the hospital and has missed out on several of her friends' birthday parties. This, of course, can be an incredibly difficult experience for a toddler who should be out socializing with other children.



The question the three-year-old asked was especially disheartening as visiting J. Wilson's had become a family tradition. The Nguyen family would often visit on the weekends for Sunday brunch. So when a family friend heard about the daughter's predicament, she wanted to do something about it. She reached out to the restaurant to see if something could be arranged. And J. Wilson's came through. To help Adelaide feel special, general manager Paula Breaux opened the restaurant up an hour early on January 26. J. Wilson's has never opened up early for a customer before, so the occasion was especially meaningful.



The restaurant was decked out in Adelaide's favorite color: pink. From the tablecloths to pieces of ribbon, the whole restaurant was ready to welcome the toddler. They even gave Adelaide a pink hat with the restaurant's branding. "It just validated, this is what we're here for. We're here to take care of our customers," manager Breaux stated. "Just the fact that we got to be a part of this means a lot to us. Always makes me happy to see the little ones enjoy our restaurant." The Nguyens were so excited that they actually arrived 20 minutes early and waited in the parking lot. After the family was seated, the three-year-old enjoyed her favorite menu item (biscuits) and savored every bite of the meal of a lifetime. The family hopes this experience will help Adelaide power through the rest of her treatment. If all goes well, she is expected to be cancer-free by September next year. "The thing about kids is when they smile, it's genuine," Vanlam affirmed. "I'm very thankful and I love this place."


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