ST. PETERSBURG (FOX 13) - One by one, McKinley, Chloe, Ava and Lauren arrived in the lobby at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg for a very important photo shoot.
Behind the scenes, emotions were running high. “This is our third year. They have just come so far, all of them,” said Lauren’s mom, Shawna Glynn.
All four girls beat cancer together in this hospital. And two years ago, they took a much different photo in the same lobby: The old shot shows four little girls with big smiles, but little hair.
“They were all on active treatment the first time we did this,” explained Ava’s mom, Alyssa Luciano. ”It’s amazing to see how far they've come from being bald little babies.”
Ava, Lauren, and McKinley shared the same diagnosis of acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Chloe had a rare form of lung cancer. They were four sick little girls in a strange place, but they found comfort in each other.
“She's 3 years old and doesn't have any hair, but all of her friends in the hospital look the same way so it kind of gave her some normalcy,” said Shawna.
“It was just always a breath of fresh air to see a familiar face and to know that she wasn't alone in this,” added Karen Moore, McKinley’s mom.
The kids were not the only ones who found solace in one another. “Just having other moms to relate to has been phenomenal. Just to have other people going through it at the same time as us,” offered Karen.
This year's reunion was extra special for Lauren. “We're done,” exclaimed Shawna. “She just rang the bell to signify that she has completed her treatment this past Monday,”
Lauren was the last to do so, so now all four girls have cancer behind them. But they'll be back next year for another reunion and more photos -- to celebrate the time they kicked cancer's butt together.