An elementary school aged male patient smiles in the glow of a Light Up Dr. Bear

“Mayor” Sumukh Receives Care and Gives Joy

An elementary school aged male patient smiles in the glow of a Light Up Dr. Bear

By Suchitra, a grateful parent

My son Sumukh lights up the room wherever he goes. I was terrified when his light dimmed. He had constant nausea and fevers that would come back as soon as medicine wore off. His pediatrician began tests and discovered leukemia. She suggested we go to Children’s National Hospital right away.

We felt really shaken up, but things got better the moment we stepped into the hospital. They performed lab work and blood transfusions to start chemotherapy that day. Child life specialists helped us explain his diagnosis in a simple way. Sumukh quickly understood and handled it better than we did.

He was still nervous, mostly because he didn’t want to miss out on the fourth grade, his friends and after-school activities like cricket and karate. He is a very active kid and was heartbroken not being able to participate.

Thankfully, the doctors, nurses and child life specialists were all so helpful and compassionate. They made time to play with him every day, especially one who teased that she was 50% nurse and 50% playmate for Sumukh. His doctors would stop by to listen to his jokes. They called him the mayor of the floor because he would go around socializing whenever he didn’t feel too tired.

We discovered Seacrest Studios, where Sumukh played bingo and participated in game shows and other events. He stopped by a classroom a couple times a week so he could keep learning. He even put together a Mario Kart league on the floor and would race everyone. Once he started doing all these activities, he focused less on his treatments and had fun. The doctors would even agree to adjust infusion time to accommodate his social activities! When we saw Sumukh, we would get strength to stay positive, too.

He finished his four chemotherapy treatments and is happy to be home, back to school and soon to his normal activities. If you put aside the pain and the treatments he went through, I’m sure he will cherish his time at the hospital and all the fun he had. That will stay with him forever.

Sumukh does everything he can to make others feel special. I’m grateful he received the same with the amazing care and all the love he could get at the hospital.