A visit with a "notorious" patient

lightsaber duel

Lightsaber duel between Zach and his "Sith Nurse"

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to meet a special patient, Zach Guillot. The 7-year-old is notorious, as his mom says, around the hospital because of the “antics” he’s involved in on the floor where he is undergoing chemotherapy and waiting to receive a second bone marrow transplant.

Zach was readmitted to Children’s Dec. 16 after relapsing from his battle with acute myeloid leukemia.

One of his antics includes riding his Big Wheel around his impatient floor at night. And he’s recently found fame among Children’s employees for the videos he and his Child Life specialist have recorded.

Among the 14 videos on his YouTube channel, there’s a legendary lightsaber duel between Zach and his “Sith Nurse” caught on camera, animated shorts and adventures as Indiana Jones and Ironman.

When I walked into his room, he introduced himself with some playful meowing. Being a bit of a kid myself, I thought it was hilarious. But I really had to hold back from laughing when he welcomed his doctors to his room by hissing.

Zach’s mom Julie said she and her husband Jeff have appreciated how the staff at Children’s has allowed Zach to be himself during his stay in the hospital.

“There’s more to recovery than medicine,” Julie said. “The staff keeps it lighthearted and play with him. It really helps with the whole experience. It’s the little things that can make a kid feel better.”

I certainly saw that’s the case with Zach. It’s so encouraging to see a young child being himself, in high spirits, playing Wii and meowing at guests, while going through something as challenging as chemotherapy.

If you’re interested in helping kids like Zach, join the bone marrow registry or participate in the Be a Match Bone Marrow Drive held at Children’s annually on Valentine’s Day. For more information on times and locations for the drive visit marrow.org.

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