New addition to Palmetto Health Children's Hospital - - Columbia, South Carolina

New addition for Palmetto Health Children's Hospital to signal end of cancer treatment


There's a new addition to the Cancer Center at Palmetto Health Children's Hospital.

It was added this week thanks to a Midlands family who knows the battle with cancer all too well.

WIS first met Columbia teen Katie Kendall just two months after she was diagnosed with leukemia.

"I'm just so excited," Katie said Wednesday. "I'm finally finishing this. It's been a long, long process."

Now 27 months later, Katie finished her last chemotherapy treatment.

"I think it's kind of all very surreal right now," Katie said. "But when I start feeling better and you know getting back to things that I haven't been able to do, it will feel really real and I'm excited about that."

It's excitement that's shared by the doctors and nurses who have been with Katie since the beginning

"It is a big milestone for families to reach this point cause when you start the journey, this is where you want to get to," said Dr. Julian Ruffin, coordinator of psycho social programs with Palmetto Health Children's Hematology Oncology Clinic.

And the Kendall family wanted to mark the occasion by starting a new tradition.

"We wanted to leave this for you in hopes that it will remind you about Katie but most importantly remember as we've said all along, If God isn't glorified in what's happened in our lives than this has not been a meaningful journey but he has been because of how he shines through you, so hopefully it will remind others of that as well," said Rett, Katie's dad.

The poem says "Today I ring this bell to say, my chemo is finally done. I celebrate and now I pray this battle is finally won."

"The bell, Nancy brought that up to me and to the family as something that is common in these clinics and part of the treatment," said Rett. "You know there something that just sort of marks the celebration. It sort of creates that thing that sounds the alarm that it's done."

The bell will now permanently hang in the clinic. And the Kendall's hope as patients like Katie hear this sound at each treatment, the bell will serve as a symbol of hope, that one day the bell will ring loud and clear.

"It's a sign that you are going to be done," Katie said. "You're going to get to finish and you're going to get to walk away from all of it."

Katie will still have check-ups to make sure her cancer remains under control.

In the meantime she's planning to have a big party to celebrate with family and friends soon.

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