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Celebration bells help pediatric cancer patients mark milestones

Andrea Moore of Waco stood in the chapel at her youngest son Andrew’s school leading morning prayer. The selection she read that day — a prayer from St. Augustine of Hippo — spoke to the struggles we must sometimes endure, and the importance of God’s grace upon us. Little did she and her husband Scott know how appropriate that prayer would be as they embarked, only a few hours later, on a journey that would challenge Andrew’s physical endurance and their stamina as a family.

That day, Andrew was diagnosed with epithelioid sarcoma, a rare form of soft tissue cancer. He and his family traveled to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston to begin treatments, which included several surgeries and seven months of chemotherapy.

Toward the latter part of his treatment, MD Anderson partnered with Scott & White to allow Andrew to finish his treatments in Temple so that the Moore family could return home.

While at MD Anderson, the Moores often heard bells ring on the treatment unit. It was explained to them that the bell ringing was a traditional way for patients to celebrate a significant milestone in their cancer treatment.

So when Andrew sat in Scott & White finishing his final chemotherapy treatment, family and friends gathered around his bed — with bells in hand — and those who couldn’t be there in Temple joined Andrew’s celebration virtually via laptops and rang their own bells as his intravenous line was removed.

A year later, as the Moore family prepared to mark Andrew’s first full year without treatment, they made the decision to donate two celebration bells to Scott & White. One is mounted on the wall in the Children’s Hospital at Scott & White and the other is in the oncology treatment area. Recently, Andrew, his family and friends returned to Scott & White to officially dedicate the bells.

“These bells will be of great support and symbolic significance for others who will be going through Andrew’s journey,” said Guy Grayson, MD, pediatric hematology/oncology during the dedication ceremony. “When we ring the bell, we are saying ‘thank you God, thank you caretakers, thank you family.’”

Andrea Moore added, “we pray that this bell will ring strong and loud, and will bring peace and strength to all who hear it.”

“Explore."

Scott Moore agreed, saying, “You don’t ever want to walk through this sort of experience, but it was wonderful to have the staff at Scott & White taking care of us.”

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Celebration bells help pediatric cancer patients mark milestones