Zanna & Shamus

Friends Help Healing

During November, many of us plan Thanksgiving with family and starting our holiday shopping. It’s such a happy and busy time of the year. Now, try to imagine Thanksgiving as if you were an 8 year old little girl who was hospitalized, and would be for months, and had undergone 17 surgeries.

This was the case for Isaihazanna, or Zanna as she is called by her friends at Children’s Hospital of Illinois. Zanna was born with Sickle Cell Anemia, a disorder that causes the red blood cells to be abnormally shaped and get stuck inside the blood vessels, making it hard to deliver oxygen throughout the body. Sickle Cell can cause intense pain, infection, and complications, like organ damage and stroke.

The disease ultimately caused severe damage to Zanna’s arm requiring numerous surgeries.

Zanna has spent a great deal of time with our Child Life Specialists for months, playing games, working on art projects and reading books, to pass the time until she is able to return home.

One day while visiting the Child Life room, an 8-year-old boy named Shamus dropped by the hospital to donate toys he collected during his birthday party for the children at the hospital. Zanna and Shamus were able to chat and learned they have a lot in common, including their love of reading.

A couple weeks later, Shamus came back to the hospital to visit with Zanna. The two had a great time playing games and reading, brightening not only Zanna’s spirit but that of Shamus as well.