I Believe Angels Are Real

Caroline Finley, Contributor

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On April 28, 1994, baby Vanessa came into this world. On January 17, 1995 she left this world in my mom’s arms, wrapped up in her pink and white blanket. My parents couldn’t take their baby home and had to tell my oldest sister, Natalie, that “baby Vanessa couldn’t be with us anymore.” That night it started snowing in Tucson and Natalie looked at my parents and said, “Sissy is in heaven now.” I believe that angels are real.

Six years go by. I was born on August 14, 2000. Six months later, I was diagnosed with Leukemia; that’s when there are too many white blood cells in the blood. I was diagnosed with a mixed lineage and that’s a harder one to treat. At six-months-old I did my first round of chemo, but, the first round of chemo didn’t do much for me because my white blood cell count was really high. My doctors said, “Let’s try another round of chemo,” so we did. The second time helped but eventually, my white blood cell count dramatically increased again. But that wasn’t my only problem; I couldn’t keep food down or take my medicine anymore due to blisters all throughout my mouth and throat. The doctors had to put a two way port in my neck and chest. With my count being so high and putting the port in, the doctors didn’t think I would make it through the night. My parents thought they were going to lose another baby.

After that news, my mom wrapped me up in baby Vanessa’s pink and white  blanket, cradling me in her arms into the morning, thinking I was going to pass like Vanessa did. But, a few days went by and nothing happened although my doctors thought I would pass in my sleep that night. They checked my white blood cell count and it had surprisingly decreased, but it still wasn’t normal. The doctors decided that they didn’t want to do more chemotherapy to get my count back to normal; a bone marrow transplant is what they suggested. At nine-months-old, I had the transplant with a perfect match; my sister, Victoria, who was only two at the time.

Caroline and her perfect donor match, her sister Victoria

The night before, my mom had baby Vanessa’s blanket just for good luck.
My surgery went great and my doctors called me a miracle because there were 17 kids diagnosed the same time I was, and I was the only one who made it to remission. I like to think because of that blanket, baby Vanessa was able to help me. When I hold the pink and white blanket, it’s a little piece of her. Every day I think of baby Vanessa, my big sister, my angel.

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