Children’s Hospital Thanksgiving

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Magda and Micah Orchard and their son, Mason, were among participants at the Children’s Hospital University of Illinois Thanksgiving celebration Saturday. Photo: Vibhu S. Rangavasan

More than 150 pediatric cancer patients and their families celebrated Thanksgiving with a lot of energy Saturday, thanks to the Children’s Hospital University of Illinois and a dedicated group of nursing and medical student volunteers. Festivities included a Thanksgiving meal, donut decorating, ornament making and dancing with the Joffrey Ballet.

Among the participants was the Orchard family — Magda, Micah and their son, Mason, a 4-year-old patient of Dr. Mary Lou Schmidt, associate professor of pediatrics. Mason has rhabdomyosarcoma, cancer of the soft tissue, but his mom, Magda, said he just wants to run around like a typical kid.

“Mason was diagnosed when he was one year and one month old, so he’s never known anything else,” Magda said.

All the children attending the event received holiday gifts and more than 10 community organizations—including Make-A-Wish, Gilda’s Club, Imerman Angels and the Girl Scouts—donated time or materials.

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Participants ate a Thanksgiving meal, then had fun with crafts. Photo: Vibhu S. Rangavasan