I’ll Live for the Both of Us
- You Will Grow and Change
December 13, 2013
This letter is written by Wendy Alvarez, who was only two years old when she had a bone marrow transplant. She was befriended by an older child named Amanda. As the two grew up, they became fast friends, until Amanda passed away. Amanda taught Wendy exquisite life lessons that Wendy wants to share with you. Wendy won Honorable Mention in the 2014 Andre Sobel Award.
“This letter is written through Amanda “Mandy” Elizabeth Ponce’s perspective of my time of illness. She is a lifelong friend who was my roommate while at my stay at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Even though we both were not of the same age, we created this unique sisterhood from 1997 till 2011 when she lost her final battle to cancer. It’s been 2 years since she’s been gone and I’ve learned so much about myself and the person I want to become. Mandy taught me so many things that I will never forget. She taught me to love the little things in life, to live life to the fullest, to always be myself, and to be strong. If I never met Mandy, I wouldn’t be who I am today and for that I’m grateful for my cancer and for having her in my life. Although I was very little, 2 to be exact, I know in my heart she and I shared the same pain. This isn’t something I wish she had told me for I know deep inside that she made my stay there the best days of my life.”
My dearest little one,
What’s somebody like you doing in a place like this? You only just started to explore this world and it bought you here. It’s not one of the 7 wonders of world but the people here seem to be. They do amazing things every day and I see them try their hardest to make beautiful miracles happen. I promise to make sure that happens to you and I’ll be here for you if you ever need me. My name is Amanda I’m 8 ½, but you can call me Mandy. You have such a pretty name miss “Wendy Alvalalez”!
I found out what you have terribly been blessed with my little one, leukemia.
You probably have no idea what that is and you’re probably wondering why your mommy cries when she looks into your eyes and why your daddy tries to make her feel better. It’s not your fault never blame yourself for something you can’t control. I’ll tell you what is so that you understand and I know you’re very bright because you shine. So, inside your body you have white and red circles called blood cells and they travel all around your body without getting tired. The red circles carry oxygen, the air you breathe, around your body and the white circles help your body fight sickness. In leukemia, the bad circles are created and from those circles, more are made crowding out the good circles in the blood. It may sound simple but it’s not its very tricky and you being so small, they need to take extra care of you and I promise I will too. Come let’s go to the playroom and color.
You are so brave. After going through all that treatment and pain you still manage to wake up with a smile on your cute little round face.
Thanks for the Barney puzzle, can’t wait to start it! I’ll help you with yours if you want then maybe later we can watch a movie or play with your Baby Bop. I see that the chemo is kicking in, but you are as cute as the day you walked in. I know it hurts baby, but you’re going make it through. Look, mommy and daddy are here with new toys and your favorite meal frijoles liquados con queso, crema y tortillas (blended beans, with cheese, cream and tortillas).
I overheard that you need a Bone Marrow Transplant and that mommy and daddy can’t help you because you have a unique blood type. I always knew you were special my little Wendy. The chances of finding someone who does are thin like a toothpick especially for someone your age; the doctors don’t know how you’ll respond to the operation. I’ll pray that God send an angel to help you so you can get better. It’s a risky experiment the doctor say, but your mommy and daddy are willing to do whatever it takes to save their little girl.
As I watch you rest in your little bed, surrounded by all your toys and of course your baby pillow, I can hear the monitors slowly beeping and the nurses come in and out of the “bubble” you can’t escape from. It’s been a while since we last spend time together. I miss tea time with you and going to the playroom till the nightfall.We’ve been going through a lot, it seems like cancer is keeping us apart but I know it only brings more together.
Good news my little one! You have a match! Her name is Olivia Goldsmith and she came all the way from Texas just for you. I believe in you and I believe you are strong enough for your operation. I’ll be in my room waiting and praying for you. Good Luck!
You did it! You made it! I’m so proud of you! You went through so much but you held your little head up high and kicked cancer’s butt! My little Wendy you are a miracle!
I hope to see you again someday so we can catch up on our tea time! Time for you to go home my little darling I love you and I’ll be seeing you!
“Years went by, and I grew healthier and I kept going to Children’s Hospital for regular yearly check-ups. I happen to meet with Mandy again we became the best of friends. We were irreplaceable and now that she rests in paradise, I live life for the both of us. I’m thankful that this ‘new’ road I’m taking, she’s guiding me through it with her light. I’m living life to the fullest and enjoying every moment of it
Thank you cancer, for everything you have given me and making me who I am.”
Hi! My name is Wendy Alvarez; As of writing this letter, I’m 19 and currently attend Santa Monica College. I like being outside, taking long walks with my dog, meeting new people, smiling, hanging out with my friends, shopping dancing, taking pictures, reading, writing, doing yoga, and just simply enjoying life. When I’m not doing those things I love volunteering at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. I love giving back to the community that has always been there for me since as long as I can remember. Having gone through cancer at such a young age, the experiences that came along with it and fully embracing it have guided me to the career I want to pursue which is Pediatric Nursing in Oncology. I want to give children hope that they too can be warriors and win their fight against cancer just like me.