Kaitlyn Rochel, 14
My name is Kaitlyn and I am 14 years old and beginning the 8th grade at Wantagh Middle School. I live with my parents, my sister Lauren, and my adorable dog Fenway. I am proud of many of my accomplishments from last school year. I was in the school play, I performed in two dances at my dance recital and I achieved really good grades. I worked hard and studied a lot in 7th grade and will work hard in 8th grade, too. When I am not in school I enjoy beading and making bracelets and necklaces. I also enjoy drawing and fashion. My favorite foods are pizza and lobster, just not at the same time. During the summer I love swimming and watching movies with my family.
When I was 3 ½ years old I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). I endured 2 ½ years of chemotherapy and was off treatment for 17 months when I relapsed. I was 7 ½ years old at the time and had to go through chemotherapy, radiation and a bone marrow transplant from my little sister. I relapsed again when I was 8 ½ years old, that time I went back through chemotherapy and had a double cord blood transplant 10 days after my 9th birthday in 2012.
Most of my favorite memories while I was at Cohen Children’s Medical Center involve doing arts and crafts with the wonderful Child Life Therapists. It always cheered me up when they came into my room. I liked to paint, make jewelry and draw. Spending time with Child Life was my favorite thing to do while I was inpatient. I also liked to watch TV and movies with my parents. When I was younger I would make my mom watch Sponge Bob over and over again, she couldn’t stand it! I also remember Santa visiting me in the transplant unit to bring me presents. I think Cohen Children’s Medical Center is a great hospital because they have great Doctors, Nurses, ChildLife Therapists and Social Workers. Some advice that I would give to patients who are still going through treatment is to be strong, laugh as often as possible, find your happy place and keep fighting!