Meet Donald and Rocco, the cutest duo there ever was...
Forming friendships with other children and their families is one of the best things you can do as a patient in the hospital. The support and joy that it brings is amazing, and this story of little Donald and Rocco is a great example.
Donald was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma earlier this year. Although he is only four years old, he plays the part of a role model quite well. Besides having a twin brother, he also has two younger siblings. The youngest ones didn’t really understand what was going on with their brother, but Donald’s twin brother was able to sense that something was different with him. After chemo treatments, Donald wasn’t always up to playing, and that can be hard to watch for anyone who’s close to him.
Donald’s mom, Nickell, encountered Rocco’s mom, Gabriella, on Facebook one day, and eventually, they actually met each other at the same hospital where their boys receive treatment. Rocco is a smiley, little, two-year-old. Like Donald, he also has stage 4 neuroblastoma. Whenever the boys go to the hospital for treatment, they love being able to see each other. For Donald’s last treatment and Rocco’s second treatment, they were even able to share a room since they had both tested negative for COVID-19.
Gabriella says that Nickell has been an amazing source of encouragement for her. Getting to talk to someone who knew exactly what she was going through also gave Nickell that same encouragement and hope. Not only has this friendship benefited the mothers of these strong, adorable boys, but it has also benefited the boys themselves. Donald acted as a role model to Rocco by comforting him when he was scared. He also knew that Rocco and he connected on a deeper level because they shared some of the same “owies” on their chest.
Donald and Rocco’s friendship, along with Gabriella and Nickell’s friendship, is a beautiful example of the happiness that can come from an unexpected situation.
In December of this year, the Forever Moriah Foundation is throwing a joint celebration for Donald and Rocco. Right now, it’s a surprise for Donald, and Rocco thinks of it as another play date. By that time, Donald will be five years old and Rocco will be three years old. Both boys have no idea just how exciting this celebration will be!
Donald is currently done with his chemotherapy, and he is now receiving immunotherapy. His mom said that he is exceeding what the doctors have expected. Rocco is nearing the end of his chemotherapy treatments, but he has a couple surgeries to get through first. After chemo, he will receive immunotherapy and radiation. Both, Donald and Rocco, understand that they have something yucky in them. Donald likes to know what is going on when the nurses come in to do something, and Rocco will gladly tell people that the doctor took out the “bad guy.”
Donald and Rocco’s friendship, along with Gabriella and Nickell’s friendship, is a beautiful example of the happiness that can come from an unexpected situation. As they continue on in their treatments, we will be praying for the health and healing of them and their families, and we hope you will too.
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