CHKD Patient Story

Sarah Merrill, Age 13

Sara was leading a happy, normal life when her world was turned upside down last January. A precocious pre-teen her parents lovingly call “Sara Sassafras” or “Sara, Queen of Everything,” she became ill not long after she performed as a dancer in a 2006 Christmas parade with her dance troupe. Doctors diagnosed acute myelogenous leukemia, cancer of the bone marrow. Her treatment required five month-long rounds of chemotherapy. Between each round of chemo in the hospital, she spent just a week at home.

Now, just more than one year after her diagnosis and spending so much time at CHKD, her home-away-from-home,

Sara’s life is back on track. In addition to getting back into the swing of things with school and friends, Sara is pursuing two new ventures that came into her life while at CHKD.

The first is piano, which she learned to play with the help of CHKD’s music therapist while she was hospitalized. Sara became so proficient on the piano during her stays for treatment, that she was able to perform a recital for friends, family and hospital staff.

Sara’s other pursuit these days is teaching her puppy, Chewy, good manners so that he can become a member of the Buddy Brigade, CHKD’s team of pet therapy dogs who visit patients to bring a sense of normalcy and fun during sometimes scary times.

Meet more of CHKD Cancer Patients