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Girl in a jacket

5-year-old girl wears different princess gowns to chemotherapy sessions

Girl wears gowns to chemotherapy
INQUIRER.net Stock Photo

A 5-year-old girl from Pennsylvania, USA, bravely faces her chemotherapy sessions by wearing different princess gowns each time.

Doctors discovered Lilli Durante had optic pathway gliomas, cancerous tumors on her optic nerve, after she woke up one morning in December 2018 with her left eye crossed, as per TODAY on Aug. 27. 

Lilli began chemotherapy right after and responded, amid her parents’ fears, with admirable courage.

“She just knew she had to get some medicine for her sick eye. She is really a trooper through all of it,” Courtney Durante, Lilli’s mother, said, according to the report. “She loves wearing big gowns, the bigger the better. The fluffier, the sparklier, the better.” 

Lilli has not repeated any of her princess gowns to her chemotherapy sessions and has been, thus far, Belle from “Beauty and the Beast,” Ariel from “The Little Mermaid,” and Cinderella and Aurora from “Sleeping Beauty.” As per the report, many of her dresses were bought for her by her parents, but loved ones and friends of the family have started to give her some dresses to wear to her sessions.

“She loves surprising everyone every week,” said Durante. “Some of the nurses call her, ‘her majesty.’ It puts a smile on everyone’s face… and usually she gets compliments and eats it up and loves it. It really gives her something to look forward to.”

Lilli’s tumors have already shrunk, as per Dr. Jim Felker, her doctor at the UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. However, she had to switch to a new regimen following an allergic reaction to her first chemotherapy. Today, she still has difficulty in seeing, and wears an eye patch on her right eye and eyeglasses to correct her crossed eye. Her mother added she may likely need eye muscle surgery, too.

Nevertheless, Lilli did not falter and brought liveliness with her whenever she arrived for her chemotherapy sessions. 

“She exudes that energy and that happiness that is vital to get through what can otherwise be, from the outside, at least, a sad experience,” Felker said. “She really is special. She brightens up the clinic. Lilli is an inspiration. You realize how resilient kids like Lilli really are.”  Cody Cepeda /ra


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