Clare was referred to hospice care as soon as she received her diagnosis. It seems unnecessary to meet with hospice social workers and nurses now, but her doctors think it is important that she gets to know these individuals now so that she is familiar with them down the line.
Our wonderful hospice social worker referred us to a "Christmas in July" event at Santa's Hideaway Hollow. This magical place is located about an hour outside of Cleveland and is only open to sick kiddos. We were able to celebrate Christmas in 80 degree weather. Some things are nice about celebrating Christmas in July... We were able to play on Santa's playground without snow boots on; We were able to go fishing in Santa's pond; We were able to wear a tutu rather than a puffy coat. The one bad thing? Santa's reindeer smell a little worse in 80 degree weather.
Clare was able to ride a train to the North Pole, enjoy freshly baked cookies and brownies, meet Buddy the elf, get her nails painted by Santa's elves, play putt-putt, receive an amazing present from Mrs. Claus, and eat delicious ice cream.
The day was amazing; however, it was difficult to see all the other children who were there enjoying the special magic that is Santa's Hideaway Hollow. There were children unable to walk being pushed in wheelchairs; children who had lost their hair from cancer treatment; and children unable to speak beyond indiscernible groans. And then there was Clare who looks like a perfectly healthy two year old. It made us feel incredibly grateful that Clare is handling her radiation well and is able to run and jump and giggle and play.
Clare used to love Santa Claus. Now he has joined the Easter Bunny on her list of "dislikes." Clare wouldn't get close to the man, but Maren loved him. So, overall the day was a big win!