Missy Washburn thought having twin boys would be her family’s biggest challenge, but when her son was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), everything changed. Washburn and her family arrived at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in 2010 only hours after receiving the news of her son’s diagnosis. St. Jude became the Washburns’ home for 134 weeks of countless blood draws, spinal taps, bone marrow aspirates, central line dressings, hair loss, steroids, chemotherapy, in-patient stays, fevers, tears and faith. Washburn says her son is living happily in remission.
Washburn described the resources that were available to her family.
“St. Jude treats the whole family, which is a major aspect of healing. The medical team made sure we had all the information we needed to understand treatment and worked with us through the protocols. Every question and every concern was treated with respect and time.”
Washburn joined the Patient Family-Centered Care (PFCC) program in 2013 as a parent mentor. For her, being a part of the whole family healing through PFCC was a simple choice.
“I want to give some peace of mind to new families overwhelmed with the sudden news they are working to absorb. I hope that I can help them see they are supported and not walking this alone,” Washburn said.
She said she loves being connected with St. Jude and learning about research advances, treatment approaches and new programs throughout the hospital. Washburn says being a parent mentor has been a huge blessing in her life and continuously provides her with appreciation and respect for life.
She urges patient families to get involved with the PFCC program.
“Giving back in any of the PFCC roles is incredibly rewarding and opens an avenue of donating to St. Jude with an experience not everyone has shared. You are uniquely qualified to hold a hand, so to speak. I recommend all St. Jude parents get involved,” Washburn said.
Washburn is active in her church, bakes and enjoys the occasional date night with her husband. She says it is easy to remain thankful when life gets crazy, because both of her boys are still with her.