EDMOND, Okla. (KFOR) – When 2-year-old Vivienne Horton walks the halls of Jimmy Everest Cancer Center, she does it with a confident smile.
It may sound strange, but this toddler from Edmond looks forward to seeing the nurse who takes her vitals and doesn’t even mind the weekly blood draws.
“She loves going to chemotherapy every week, she looks forward to it,” says her mother, Valerie. “She knows she gets a lot of special attention from these people.”
Valerie and Terry Horton are adjusting to life after their daughter’s diagnosis last fall.
Valerie recalls, “My mom and a few of my friends had noticed Vivi was a bit more stiff than usual when she was running and walking, and she wouldn’t turn her head like she normally would.”
This was last October.
The next day, Vivienne fell off a bathroom counter, leading to a dash to the emergency room and a CT scan.
“They sat us both down,” says Valerie, “and the doctor and nurse both had tears in their eyes, and I was like, ‘What’s going on? What’s wrong?’ They looked at us and said it does look like she has a fracture on her skull. But it also looks like she has cancer everywhere. Your heart just kind of drops, your life just goes to a standstill, and you go numb.”
The scan revealed lesions along Vivienne’s skull and ribs. It is a rare condition called Langerhans cell histiocytosis or LCH.
It’s treated like many cancers, so Vivienne soon began chemotherapy treatments, bringing out a new Vivienne to her parent’s surprise.
Terry Horton recalls, “She was reserved and quiet—and really since she started chemotherapy, her personality shines through. She has turned into our wild child, full of energy and happiness.”
In fact, the Horton’s phones are filled with pictures of Vivienne creating art, high-fiving nurses, and beaming in front of the medical center’s Christmas tree. She is living her best life.
“The nurses, the service dogs, they all make the place almost better than Disney World for her,” says Terry.
So far, the treatments are doing their job and keeping the LCH lesions at bay.
Valerie explains, “She has injections that she gets in arm or leg for 5 days and then off for two weeks—and we’ll do that for about a year.”
These days, Vivienne is enjoying more time at home with her big brother, Liam. The red head baby of the family looks good, and feels much better inside and out.
If you’d like to help families like the Hortons fight cancer, consider donating to JECFriends.org.