TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) – Tinley is enjoying a summer full of fun, friends and the search for fairies.
The five-year-old from Oskaloosa was even on the hunt for the elusive, magical creatures while visiting Stormont Vail’s courtyard.
Her mother, Tia Benyshek, says their journey started on New Year’s Eve 2019.
“She complained of abdominal pain, but worse than most kids would complain of abdominal pain,” Tia said.
That abdominal pain led to a trip to Stormont Vail’s emergency room and a diagnosis of acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
“(It was) heartbreaking,” Tia said. “It was just one of those things you never expect. Unfortunately you are thinking of (a cancer diagnosis) with adults. It never occurs to us with children; and then when it’s your own child, you think about all the things you could miss for the rest of their lives and the things they’d miss.”
The family’s life suddenly filled with treatments and hospital visits. Their care team in Stormont included two pediatric life specialists. It is one of several programs supported by Stormont’s affiliation with the Children’s Miracle Network hospital.
“When you’re a kid, that’s all amplified — that insecurity. So these childhood life specialists really help them deal with those times on an emotional level, on a mental level, on a spiritual level, not just a physical one.” level,” said Hannah Maddy, the CMN program manager at Stormont.
CMN is supported by local fundraisers. Maddy said customers in WalMart stores in the area can make a donation at the checkout right now.
“They can finish. They can give a dollar. They really can give any amount, and all that money goes here to help children in the local communities,” Maddy said.
The Childhood Specialists were the perfect medicine for Tinley. They also made sure her younger brother Tripp didn’t feel left out by giving him hugs.
“They provide all these fun little games and activities for her, which makes it not so scary when she comes in,” Tia said.
Sprinkle some fairy dust in it and Tinley heads for a magical future.
“The outlook is really hopeful and very good,” Tia said. “She can currently do gymnastics and t-ball and swimming lessons. We are hopeful that she will live a long life and be able to do everything she has ever dreamed of.”
CMN also supports Stormont’s breastfeeding clinic and assists in the procurement of specialty equipment for pediatric patients.
Walmart’s donation campaign runs through July 25. The Sam’s Club on Wanamaker is organizing a cruise evening for the benefit of CMN. It starts on Sunday, July 18 at 6 p.m.
Also, mark your calendar for Thursday, July 22, when most Topeka-area Dairy Queens will donate a portion of your blizzard purchases to CMN.
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