NewsPinellas County


Leukemia no match for 10-year-old girl, who leaves hospital just in time for Christmas

Posted at 4:25 PM, Dec 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-24 16:25:58-05

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Most children are asking for toys or video games or a bicycle under the Christmas tree. However, there is one little girl in Tampa who only had one thing on the wish list, and that is to go home for Christmas.

“It was really exciting when I rang that bell and I knew in my head that I was going to be home for Christmas and my whole family will be able to celebrate it with me,” said 10-year-old Audrey Rivera.

Rivera had been undergoing treatment for leukemia at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital for the past six months. She wasn’t scheduled to go home until February but earlier this month, she rang the bell that she was in remission.

“It’s very, very special, you know the type of leukemia she has is very aggressive, so the chemotherapy is very aggressive, and she’s fully recovered,” said Dr. Nanette Grana.

Rivera said she couldn’t have done it without Dr. Grana, who Audrey started calling Dr. Grandma.

“Every time she comes to check on me and stuff, I feel like my grandma is there,” said Rivera.

“Well she is not the only one because Grana sounds like grandma, so a lot of the kids call me 'Dr. Grandma,' and for her, it was special because she always thought of me as her Puerto Rican grandma,” said Grana.

Rivera also grew a deep attachment to the nursing staff and now said she wants to be a nurse when she grows up.

“I want to be a nurse because I want to help other kids fighting their cancer or any type of diseases,” said Rivera.