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St. Jude patient Kymverly celebrating Christmas at the Target House.

St. Jude patient Kymverly celebrating Christmas at the Target House. 

white stars artwork by St. Jude patient Ty

Kymverly Celebrates 
Christmas at St. Jude

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When you think of the holidays, countless things come to mind: music, good food and spending time with family and friends. The very last thing one would imagine is having to spend the holidays in the hospital, a reality Kymverly and her family faced at St. Jude.

Kymverly is a happy and strong three-year-old girl. Her family dreamed of having a child for a long time, so it was an incredible blessing when she finally arrived.

One day Cathy, Kymverly’s mom, noticed there was something strange going on with her daughter. Her skin had turned a yellowish color, there was bruising everywhere, and her stomach was swollen. After multiple tests, Kymverly was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a type of blood cancer, when she was just one  year old.


My life had been turned off...all I saw was darkness

- Cathy, Kymverly's mom


After months of aggressive treatments in their home country of Puerto Rico, the oncologist said to Cathy: “If you want to save your child, go to St. Jude.” Cathy and Tara, Kymverly’s other mom, were frightened – they would have to move to a new place with a language that was different from theirs. Yet any sacrifice would be worth saving their daughter.

St. Jude patient Kymverly standing in front of her Christmas presents

St. Jude patient Kymverly standing in front of her Christmas presents at St. Jude

Upon arriving at St. Jude, Kymverly had a transplant the day after Thanksgiving, so she was going to have to spend the holidays at the hospital. Initially both mothers were saddened and worried thinking that Kymverly wouldn’t be able to enjoy her first Christmas like other children. In addition, they were so far away from their family in Puerto Rico.

Amid those concerns, a St. Jude representative entered their room and asked Cathy: “Do you celebrate Christmas?” to which Cathy replied that they did. The St. Jude representative said, “Wait for a minute,” and left the room. When she came back, she brought with her a small Christmas tree, decorations and lights. In less than an hour their room was transformed into a vibrant and happy place filled with the Christmas cheer. Their hearts were overcome with joy!

Then, the most unexpected thing happened on Christmas Day. Santa Clause arrived with a bag full of gifts for Kymverly. Among those gifts were her favorite toys to this day: a dinosaur and a small electric bike , which she rode wherever she could. Santa also brought her candy and cookies. 

Kymverly riding the motorbike Santa Claus brought her at St. Jude

Kymverly riding the motorbike she received at St. Jude


I thought that Christmas was lost, yet in the middle of this storm, St. Jude and their staff brought Santa Clause into our room. We’ve kept every present because they all continue to spark moments of joy for us...

- Cathy, Kymverly's mom


Kymverly got better for a while, but her cancer relapsed. Her treatment included another transplant, so Kymverly and her family returned the following year to spend another holiday season at St. Jude. The biggest difference between their previous Christmas and this one was the COVID-19 pandemic.

Faced with the strict limitations brought on by the pandemic, the employees at St. Jude used their creativity to create a magical forest inside of the hospital’s dining area for the kids. Families took turns to visit, and Kymverly and her family were all amazed. Kymverly excitedly kept repeating, “Look mom, it’s snow!” and her little face reflected nothing but joy. This was her very first time seeing snow. 


St. Jude is dedicated to saving the lives of children. My daughter is ok thanks to them.

- Cathy, Kymverly's mom


Today Kimverly is healthy, in remission, and ready to celebrate her first Christmas in Puerto Rico. 

Kymverly’s mothers remember their time at St. Jude with many emotions. When asked what they learned during those two years of treatment, they spoke about the importance of spending every moment with family. “Every detail, every moment, enjoy it… and more importantly, let your children know you are enjoying it with them.”

St. Jude patient Kymverly with her two moms

St. Jude patient Kymverly with her two moms

white stars artwork by St. Jude patient Ty

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