One Year Since Diagnosis

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April 17, 2010 marked the one year anniversary of Atia's acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) diagnosis. Steve and I racked our brains trying to figure out how to commemorate that day - the day that changed everything.

After much debate we decided to take Atia and Asher to the Shedd Aquarium. Though cancer and fish don't seem to have any obvious connection, for us, they did.

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The Fish at Comer Children's Hospital

The fish in the clinic's waiting room at Comer Children's Hospital always brought Atia immense pleasure and peace. Visiting with the fish had become part of our chemotherapy ritual. She always said hello to them before receiving treatment and then said goodbye afterward.

We had hoped to take Atia to the Shedd Aquarium on her 2nd birthday, but couldn't because she was far too ill. So we decided that we'd celebrate her UNbirthday six months later the way we'd wanted to celebrate her actual birthday. Why not, right?

Steve took the day off of work and we headed over first thing in the morning, but even that wasn't good enough. We still got stuck waiting in a super long line outside. It was cold, but Atia passed the time by exploring the gigantic fish statue and chasing the birds.

Even before stepping foot inside, she was having fun. But nothing would compare to the look of excitement on Atia's face when she saw the rows and rows of fish tanks hosting a slew of various fish. Her eyes lit up like Christmas morning and she shrieked with joy! We smiled and giggled back at her in response, as did the many people around us. Every time Atia screeched, all of the patrons laughed.

Atia gave everyone the gift of seeing the sea life through the eyes of a child - a grateful, enthusiastic child that had been through more than some adults, at the tender age of 2 and a half years old!

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