Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Child Health, Family Health | 4 years ago

A Cancer Care Team That Gives Everything, Including Unicorns

Four-year-old Wren Jansen has a cancer care team that would do anything for her, including making sure she has all the unicorns she needs to stay strong.  

What do unicorns and chemotherapy have in common? An amazing ability to heal.

That’s what 4-year-old Wren Jansen and her family discovered after she was diagnosed last year with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, an aggressive form of blood cancer.

When Wren needed a blood transfusion at the start of her treatment, her nurses at Levine Children’s Hospital came up with a magical way of calming the young girl’s nerves. 

“They told her, ‘Oh, we're going to give you some unicorn juice, and it's going to make you feel better,’" said Wren’s mother, Brandi. “Well, of course it made her feel better, and so we kind of latched onto that unicorn theme of making her feel better and the magic that is unicorns.”

Since then, Wren has received unicorns in every shape and form – from clothes to pencil holders to duct tape. She even received a stuffed unicorn from the nurses themselves.

It’s just one of the many ways the LCH care teams show their patients that beating cancer takes more than just the right treatment. It’s also about delivering compassion and smiles during one of the most trying times a family can imagine.

During her time at LCH, Wren has made arts and crafts, including a suncatcher for Brandi on Mother’s Day. She’s also loved requesting songs and playing over-the-air bingo through Seacrest Studios, the hospital’s in-house radio station.

After a year’s worth of chemotherapy and radiation, Wren today is playful and energetic. She still receives regular scans and at-home chemotherapy – and will continue to be monitored for years to come. 

An ER nurse herself, Brandi is grateful for the dedication of Wren’s LCH care team. Brandi expects nothing but good outcomes for Wren, but she also knows that’s not the case for all children. That’s why more needs to be done, says Brandi.

“Forty-three kids a day are estimated to be diagnosed with cancer, and yet at a national level only four percent of funding goes towards pediatric cancer research,” says Brandi. "This doesn't make the news, it's not a big deal, but it's happening every day and it's a big deal to us and families like us. Our whole life was turned upside down.”