Hannah, a sophomore in Cedar Grove, TN, developed a bump on her head in March that the family had hoped was a cyst. Unfortunately, it was a mass. Immediately after a surgeon’s biopsy, a nurse was on the phone to Memphis. Two days later, Hannah was a patient at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, diagnosed with b cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Natalie and Kevin, her grandparents, have been legal guardians to Hannah and her older sister for the last 12 years. Though difficult, they are doing everything possible to make sure one of them is always with Hannah in Memphis. They make it work as a tag team. Both have full-time jobs, but each week Kevin comes here Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday morning while Natalie works. Natalie returns to Memphis to allow Kevin to work Wednesday afternoon, Thursday, and Friday. When Kevin has National Guard responsibilities on weekends, he comes back to Memphis on Sunday. The love they feel for Hannah is clear and strong: Natalie says, “I cry every time I leave on Sunday.”
At home, Hannah plays trumpet and baritone in the marching band, and her karate lessons have earned her a brown belt with a black stripe. She likes chemistry and can see herself in a scientific career in the future.
About Ronald McDonald House of Memphis, Natalie remarks, “When you see what goes on here and the generosity for these young people, it is just awesome. There are no words to describe what it means with people who just help the kids. They are all about the kids.”
Special thanks to B. Scott Duke for Photography