Miracles do happen.
Ten-year-old bone cancer victim, Emma Lockwood, came home from the Kaiser Children’s Hospital Thursday afternoon after her blood count increased by 800 points. Doctors told the family they couldn’t explain why it happened.
As I walked up the driveway to the Lockwood’s family home in southwest Manteca and looked into the shadows of an open garage, to my surprise, there was Emma sitting in a motorized wheelchair that a family friend had stored in her garage after breaking a leg last year. Emma wasn’t supposed to be home – she was way too sick. She was expected to still be in the hospital where she had spent a very bad 10 days.
I was there to deliver $100 in cash from the Sequoia School fourth grader who had operated a lemonade stand in the 100 block of Veach Avenue to raise money for Emma’s family to help with the cost of transportation between Manteca and the Kaiser hospital in Oakland. It was exciting for me to see Emma and hand her the rolled up cash – explaining it had come from another student at her school who wanted to help.
A younger sister ran into the house and alerted her mom and dad that I was there. They came out to say hello – noting that they had just gotten home from Oakland a few hours earlier. Emma was quick to demonstrate how she could negotiate her new motorized chair around the two car garage and even a relatively short distance on the sidewalk. It was much better than having to sit inside on a stationary couch all day. It was reassuring to see a broad smile come over her face once again – with her having been through so much trauma in her young life.
She beamed and her face really lit up when her “best friend,” Chloe O’Kefe, 11, came walking up the driveway. It was the first time they could be together over many long months when Emma had been kept in isolation at home for fear of contracting a virus. Chloe looked like she had been just given the best ever Christmas present when she knelt down next to Emma and gave her a priceless hug.
Emma’s mom Michele recalled what the two girls had sacrificed together with their hair when it was evident that the chemotherapy was going to rid her daughter of her long locks. She decided she wanted to cut it off and dye it pink – uncomfortable that she was doing it all alone and by herself. Chloe was quick to say she would join Emma and have hers cut off too and dye it pink as well to demonstrate their friendship. She didn’t want her to have to do it alone.
Emma’s mom announced Thursday afternoon that for the first time a certain friend would be welcome to go along to the hospital for Emma’s next chemo treatment and spend the night with her – that would be Chloe. They both beamed at the news.
The two have been best friends since their first day together in second grade. Chloe remembered, “She just hopped in front of me and said, ‘You want to be my best friend?’” Chole’s response, “Sure, I will!”
Standing in the open garage, her mother noted “We weren’t supposed to be home for quite some time,” as she gazed at her daughter.
I had been keeping track of Emma’s condition and her location – whether home or in the hospital – and was saddened when I learned she was not improving. That said, it is a terrific surprise to learn that she had come home and her condition had so drastically improved as much of the Manteca community is praying for her recovery.
To contact Glenn Kahl, email firstname.lastname@example.org.