Young Cancer Patients Treated to Day at the Seaquarium

Miami Children's Hospital took 75 young patients and their families to the Miami Seaquarium for National Cancer Survivors Day.

By Betty Yu
|  Sunday, Jun 2, 2013  |  Updated 6:20 PM EDT
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Miami Children's Hospital took 75 young patients and their families to the Miami Seaquarium for National Cancer Survivors Day. NBC 6's Betty Yu reports.

NBC Miami

Miami Children's Hospital took 75 young patients and their families to the Miami Seaquarium for National Cancer Survivors Day. NBC 6's Betty Yu reports.

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Miami Children's Hospital treated 75 young cancer patients and their families to a day at the Miami Seaquarium for National Cancer Survivors Day.

The day was a nice change of pace for patients like 4-year-old Ava Crowley who got to meet some of her favorite animals.

She has undergone six rounds of chemotherapy and surgery at Miami Childrens after being diagnosed with a rare, advanced form of cancer that forms in the nerve tissue.

The tumor was successfully removed, but it hasn't been an easy year for her or her family.

"Over the past year we've seen her vomiting and just being so sick she couldn't lift her head out of bed, not even eating," her mother Nickelle Crowley said. "So today to see her running and laughing and just having a good time with her siblings and her parents is amazing."

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The parents weren't the only ones happy to see the kids outside the hospital.

"The diagnosis of cancer is a very stressful thing for the family and the patient," Dr. Ziad Khatib said. "The good news is that for childhood cancer we have a very high success rate."

Today was the first time many of these survivors visited the Seaquarium and got to see the animals up close.

"They flipped in the water, they kissed, it was really cute," said 15-year-old Jocelyn Gonzalez, a bone marrow transplant survivor.

Gonzalez underwent the transplant when she was three-years-old. She was too young to understand the disease, but old enough to show her strength.

"It makes me think that anything's possible," her sister Karen Gonzalez said. "No matter how old you are, how young you are, someone can go through this, as long as you have family."

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