By Matt Wotus
A 1-year-old girl who finished her last chemotherapy treatment at John Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida, on Wednesday received a superhero send-off after being discharged.
When she was nine months old, Emilie Meza was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, a type of blood cancer, and required a bone marrow transplant. Doctors were unable to find someone who was a perfect match for her, so her father, who was a half match, became her donor.
Dr. Benjamin Oshrine, Emilie’s attending transplant physician, told ABC News that because her father was only a half match, doctors had to take special precautions.
Despite the tricky process, they were able to do the transplant, and everyone was all smiles as Emilie walked down the hospital’s hallway following her last chemo treatment to cheers and congratulations from staff while wearing a Supergirl costume and holding her dad’s hand. She then marked the end of her treatments by ringing a celebratory bell.
“Oh, it was an amazing feeling,” Roxana Meza, Emilie’s mother, said. “There were tears in my eyes — tears of joy. She’s gone through so much and she doesn’t know it because she’s so little. It was tough at a lot of points, but to feel accomplished that you’re getting past the chemo part of it is amazing.”
While the chemo treatments are over, there’s still a long way to go. Doctors must closely monitor Emilie, so she and her family are living in a Ronald McDonald House close to the hospital. Still, her parents continue to be amazed by their little girl.
“She is a supergirl,” Roxana said. “She’s been through so much. She always smiles through all of the tough things and even on her bad days, she always pushes through.”