The world sparkles around 3-year-old Evelyn Ness.
On any given day, you might see her marching through Sanford Children’s in Fargo, North Dakota, waving to everyone she passes and flashing her infectious smile. Except for her little bald head, you’d have a hard time believing she’s there receiving cancer treatment.
“Evelyn is the most sassy, fun, exciting, happy little kid you could ever meet. Nothing gets her down,” says her mom, Deanna. “Even when she’s at her most sick, she has taken every procedure better than a grown man or woman could do it.”
Sanford Children’s is like a second home to Evelyn, who was born with Down syndrome and a number of health complications. She spent the first month of her life in the neonatal intensive care unit and has relied on the specialized pediatric care ever since.
Since last February, Evelyn has been locked in the battle of her life against leukemia. Over the past year, this little girl has already been in the ER eight times, endured 92 chemotherapy injections, 22 spinal taps and spent 47 days in the hospital.
“She keeps fighting through,” says Deanna, as tears fill her eyes. “That’s why she’s our warrior princess.”
Evelyn is one of about 40 children and teens fighting cancer right now at Sanford Children’s; many more will be diagnosed there before the year is over. The hospital collaborates with Roger Maris Cancer Center to provide cutting-edge cancer care and boasts three board-certified pediatric oncologists, a multidisciplinary team of nurses, pediatric sub-specialists, therapists and child life specialists.
Everyone is trained to care for very young patients who face very grown-up circumstances. They keep Evelyn’s spirits high and also help her parents and 7-year-old brother, Ethan, maintain a sense of normalcy and cope with the emotional ups and downs of Evelyn’s treatments.
“They’re not just worried about Evelyn. They’re worried about us — always asking what they can do, and how they can help,” says Evelyn’s dad, Jeremy. “After all this, I consider them family.”
Jeremy and Deanna are also grateful for support from Sanford Children’s Miracle Network. Like countless others across the region, they know firsthand that every dollar really does lead to miracles.
From providing family services, unique programs and education to helping purchase lifesaving equipment and technology, Children’s Miracle Network funds keep Sanford Children’s on the leading edge. With this support, the hospital is equipped to care for children of all ages, close to home — no matter what brings them through the doors.
“Donations give children like Evelyn the chance to reach their dreams,” Deanna says. “They can get through with the help of the doctors and nurses and everyone at Sanford.”
Evelyn faces at least another year of treatment. It will be a long road, but with the support of Sanford Children’s Miracle Network, and incredible donors across the region, this “warrior princess” will keep fighting and lighting up the world with her smile and spirit.
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