Why Misty's Wish?
Here's the story...
On November 23, 1979, Misty was born. She was a beautiful, blond-haired, blue eyed, healthy baby girl. She spent her days like most girls do: hanging with her friends and family, playing basketball on the school team, and doing her hair and makeup. All of that came to an end on January 31, 1994 when she came home from her basketball game complaining of a very bad headache and feeling sick to her stomach. It is a date that I will never forget.
Her world quickly changed forever and she would never be “just a teenage girl” again. Misty went to the doctor and it was thought that she had a sinus infection and the flu. After two days, she wasn’t getting better and after another visit to the doctor, everything spiraled down.
Eventually, Misty was diagnosed with a brain tumor; a medulloblastoma. At first it was like the doctor was talking about someone else, almost like we were watching a Lifetime movie of the week, but our family was the stars. I thought that this kind of stuff doesn’t happen to people like us or even people we know. I learned quickly that illness has no boundaries.
Misty was taken from Fairview Hospital to The Cleveland Clinic, where they were better equipped to deal with the type of brain tumor she had. She underwent surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. She was in the ICU for 11 days and spent the first 35 days of her treatment in the hospital. We were convinced that once she came home and completed her treatment that everything would be okay.
She went through nine months of chemotherapy, which was completed on May 31, 1995. At her check up in July, we found out the tumor was still there. After another surgery and more chemotherapy, we were told she had about a year to live. A year? That is not what anyone expects to hear someone say to their child: “you have about a year to live”.
Around this time was when hospice care was first mentioned. I didn’t want to hear any of it. Hospice is for people who are dying and I was not ready to believe my daughter would not go into remission. Why wouldn’t she have a miracle and get better? She was only a child and hospice was not an option.
We received even worse news and reality began to set in on January 20, 1996. Misty needed surgery immediately to prolong her life, not to make her better, but just to give her a little more time. Again, the doctor suggested we contact hospice. At this point we reluctantly talked with The Hospice of the Western Reserve and we decided to accept some help. We chose them because they had a pediatric unit. I was shocked that a pediatric hospice unit existed but quickly learned how much it was needed.
Hospice helped with Misty’s medical supplies, medicine, physical and psychological therapies. Most importantly, they gave Misty an unexpected gift. When they asked Misty what was the one thing she wanted to do before she died, her response (a shock to everyone): “I want my Dad to adopt me”. Her Stepfather was the only father she had growing up. And in May 1996, in just ten days, The Hospice of the Western Reserve’s legal team, with the help of a Cleveland judge made Misty legally adopted by her father.
Misty died on July 27, 1996. Thanks to The Hospice of the Western Reserve, she got her wish. Her memory lives on in her family, friends and through Misty’s Wish. We are dedicated to fundraising efforts for places like The Hospice of the Western Reserves Pediatric Palliative Care Unit so that we can, in some small way, help continue to make dreams come true.
- As told by Sherri Viccarone, Misty's Mother
P.O. Box 110455
Cleveland, Ohio 44111