KAYSVILLE — After four-year-old Ariana Paxton had undergone several rounds of chemotherapy at a hospital in Idaho, her family brought her to Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City for a bone marrow transplant.
Ariana had been diagnosed with stage four, high-risk neuroblastoma and was just embarking on a year-long series of treatments.
“The process of the bone marrow transplant and the therapies that follow were only available at Primary’s,” said her mother, Lisa Paxton.
“We’re very blessed that Primary’s has a lot of the most up-to-date therapies,” she said. “A lot of families have to go much farther.”
Primary’s is holding its annual telethon this Saturday to raise money to help families in the future.
Though her family didn’t need direct financial aid, Paxton is quick to praise the hospital for everything from its innovative treatments to its attention to patient needs and its care of families.
“The hospital does a lot to help with families who are from out of state and out of the area,” she said.
“They have all kinds of options,” such as the Ronald McDonald House and a new Hope House under construction, she said, “which I think is so wonderful.”
Nurses were “fantastic – she got so much attention,” said Paxton, and her daughter had a “really great team of doctors.”
Besides the latest in treatments, Paxton said the hospital organized visits from pet-therapy dogs and had art and craft projects that gave Ariana something to focus on.
“There were a lot of rough days and I look back and think, “How did we even get here?’ It’s just one day at a time,” she said.
Primary Children’s Hospital spent $13.2 million in 2013 to cover 9,031 hospital visits by children in need, including children from Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada and Montana.
This year’s telethon on Saturday, June 7 will include national programing from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and a “celebration of miracles” from Primary’s from 6 to 9 p.m., all on KSL Channel 5.
Those wanting to help with contributions to the hospital can call 801-662-6222 or visit online at primarychildrens.org/donate.
In addition to the Paxton family, Bountiful’s Chace Fullmer was treated at Primary’s for what was thought to be a simple cold but in fact was the H1N1 flu virus.
“We have no doubt that Chase is a miracle,” said his father about his recovery, as quoted in a press release.
His story will be featured in the telethon.
“We are one of the very blessed families to be in this position right now,” said Lisa Paxton, whose family has since moved to Kaysville so they could be close to family and closer to the hospital for their now-five-year-old’s treatments, therapies and tests.
Ariana’s most recent tests indicate the cancer is gone. More tests will be taken every three months, and side effects will need to be monitored.
“We’re just prayerful and hopeful that the cancer stays away,” said Paxton. “Right now she’s doing amazing.”