Leone was a typical 3-year old last year — adorable, outgoing and showing a real personality. But then a checkup showed that something was up with the toddler. With an abnormal amount of white blood cells showing up in his tests, he was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL). Within 24 hours, Leone was admitted to Children’s where he underwent a port implant and began chemotherapy.
For an adult the idea of being forced to replace their normal routine and surroundings with a regimen of treatments in a hospital setting would be a challenging experience. For a 3-year old, it was extra daunting to be taken from his home and undergo treatments that included needles, losing his hair and limited time with his family for three months.
Ah, but in addition to a terrific team of doctors, nurses and specialists, Leone had a secret weapon to overcome his battle with ALL and to ease his anxieties — his parents, Natalia and Dario. Recognizing that Leone’s stay and follow-up visits were necessary, they decided to make it almost magical by dressing up as superheroes “to remind Leone of his strength to take on what the family calls ‘God’s Project’.”
From The Incredibles, Spider-Man, Batman and Batgirl, Superman and Wonder Woman, the family has worn superhero costumes to every one of Leone’s chemotherapy and hospital visits. In addition to delighting the Oncology floor team and other patients with their superhero visits, Natalia, Dario and Leone have been bringing meals from Mi Cocina for the staffers like Leone’s oncologist Dr. Laura Klesse “in appreciation of their dedication to all the patients on the floor.”
Sidenote: The connection between the young family and Mi Cocina derived from Natalia’s being on staff at the restaurant.
And leave it to Mi Cocina to honor and support Children’s efforts in helping Leone and other youngsters. From Thursday April 28 (aka Cape Day) thru Sunday May 1, all DFW Mi Cocina locations will host a “giveback opportunity” with proceeds from meals sold benefiting the Children’s Medical Center Foundation‘s Red Balloon League fundraiser.
BTW, if on Cape Day you happen to be at Children’s, don’t be surprised. In addition to all the patients receiving red capes, there’s word that the window washers will be dressed like superheroes.
* Photo provided by Children's Medical Center Foundation