CHOC Oncology Delivers Lifelong Memories For Teenage Patients

I don’t give up and I keep going. All I know is I want to sing.

Inspiring words coming from anybody, perhaps, but coming from a courageous teen battling Ewing’s sarcoma, these words carry a deeper meaning than that of your typical ‘starving artist’.

Meet Christine Ianev, a 17 year old songwriter, who merely wants to live what many of us consider a normal life. Diagnosed with cancer in 2014, Ianev has been an inspiration to her mother, Lina, her physician, and a slew of other people once they’ve heard just a snippet of her story - her fight.

It’s like a war, and every day you fight,” said her mom, Lina. “They are like soldiers but are fighting a different war.”

Lanev has experienced being bound to a wheelchair for 10 months following a grueling 9-hour surgery that consisted of removing a tumor, and replacing her femur with a titanium rod. As if that wasn’t enough, she and her family also endured the tremendous suffering caused by the 14 rounds of chemotherapy and 48 rounds of radiation recommended to treat her cancer.

In efforts of making the proverbial ‘lemonade’ from this overwhelming ‘batch of lemons’, doctors from the Children’s Hospital of Orange County in Orange have committed to recreating some of life’s most precious moments for their young patients. And for one night a year, they transform the hospital into a teenager’s heaven - and no, I don’t mean a shopping mall.

CHOC calls it an “Evening in Paradise,” and it's designed to be similar to one of the most memorable nights in most American teens natural lives: the prom. Full of dancing, food, games, and the camaraderie of friends, the Children’s Hospital of Orange County in Orange delivers what many call a teen’s rite of passage.

It makes me forget everything that’s happening and feel normal for a night, like a regular teenager,” said Ianev about the 15th annual Oncology Prom. “It’s an escape really.”

It may just be one night, but the memories last a lifetime. For many kids battling with cancer, forced to accept that life itself is temporary, an “Evening in Paradise” can mean the world to them.

We want to make sure they have an opportunity to feel like teenagers and not missing out on an experience,” she said. “We don’t want to put illness in front of childhood.” said Andrea Hanigan, CHOC spokeswoman.

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