Christine Steiner knew something wasn’t right with her youngest child, Olivia. After a month of viral illness diagnoses she demanded blood tests.
The result was ALL – acute lymphoblastic leukemia, also known as acute lymphocytic or lymphoid leukemia. The date, June 15, 2015 is etched in her memory.
“It was the day after Liv turned two years old,” said Christine. “I knew something was definitely wrong after a month of her being sick. She has been the easiest baby since the day she was born. She was not herself at all.”
“We were immediately sent to Boston Children’s Hospital to start treatment.”
Christine recalls the first two weeks of Olivia’s hospitalization as tough. An infection nearly sent the toddler to the Intensive Care Unit.
“One of our nurses brought in this yellow duck in hopes of getting Liv to smile,” said Christine. “It worked!”
“They gave her a Chemo Duck right before she had her port placed and it was so helpful because they were able to show her how they were going to give her the medicines and what they were going to do,” continued Christine .
“She really liked the idea that they were showing her how they use the lines, and she absolutely loved the idea of giving medicines to Duckie. It took her mind off of what they were doing. It served as a wonderful distraction.”
Duckie was not only helpful to Olivia, but also useful for her older siblings ages nine, eight and six years old. Christine taught them about the port that was inserted under Olivia’s skin and how doctors give her the life-saving medicine to treat her cancer.
“Chemo Duck has helped our entire family and comforts Liv when her port is being accessed.”
Liv and a fellow cancer patient often play with their Chemo Ducks together while at the Jimmy Fund Clinic at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.
“They have bonded over their ducks,” said Christine. “It’s terrible when a family is put in this position, but anything that can help your child feel better is amazing.”