St Jude gives family a "sense of hope that you don't have just anywhere"
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis provides free care for young patients which allows parents to focus on their child and not medical bills.
Channel 3 is sharing a series of stories of hope from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis.
It is where doctors across the country send their most serious cases.
The treatment is free which allows parents to focus on their child and not medical bills.
Channel 3’s Lori Mitchell traveled to Memphis where she met patients who are being cared for at St. Jude.
One of those patients is 4-year-old Lilly-Anne Bryan.
"We had no idea that she had anything going on so we were completely blown away. We kept asking if this was really happening,” Lilly-Anne’s mom Lacy Bryan said.
In May 2017, Bryan was busy planning her little girl’s 4th birthday party when the family received a diagnosis that would change everything.
“She was a completely normal, healthy child. The doctors asked if she had any symptoms of not eating well or not doing this or not doing that. She never had any of that,” Bryan told Channel 3.
It came as a shock when a nurse practitioner felt a mass in Lilly-Anne’s belly during a routine check-up.
The little girl was sent to a hospital near the family’s home and then on to a second hospital farther away in Baton Rouge.
“When they walked through the door in Baton Rouge, they started telling us up front if this is what we think it is, no questions asked, I'm already talking to St. Jude."
"Before they even did the first scan they'd already been talking to St. Jude,” said Bryan.
A flurry of tests revealed Lilly-Anne had stage 3 high-risk neuroblastoma.
Doctors in Louisiana referred her to St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis.
“You have a sense of hope that you don't have just anywhere,” Bryan told Channel 3.
Lilly-Anne has gone through numerous treatments and a surgery to try to remove the tumor which lasted nearly 18 hours.
“Every hour I had a nurse calling me while I was sitting in the waiting room telling me, she’s OK. Knowing what was going on was a great ease of your mind,” Bryan said.
The comfort her family has felt at St. Jude is something Bryan is thankful for.
“It's not just thankful but blessed. You get the treatment, the family, you don't get a bill, they take care of you while you are here but the sense of hope you get while you're here, the sense of we're going to do everything we can makes you feel very blessed,” Bryan said.
The Bryan family doesn’t have to worry about getting a bill from the hospital. Everything at St. Jude is free, which allows the family to focus on Lilly-Anne’s care.
“It's a wonderful place. Support it in any way you can,” Bryan said.
The mother of two says her faith has gotten her through the dark days.
“There's been a lot of asking of 'why' but there's also been a lot of OK, I trust you and if this is what you have for us, help us get through it and give us the strength to do it and He has. It has not been easy but He has done that,” Bryan said.
She now finds joy in small things like watching her daughter eat some of her favorite foods again.
“Any glimmer of hope, you take it,” Bryan told Channel 3.
You can help children like Lilly-Anne by purchasing a $100 ticket to the St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway.
Thanks to your donations, no family has to pay a dime for treatment at St. Jude.