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‘Our hearts are in pieces’: Family discovers 13-year-old daughter has leukemia following COVID-19 diagnosis

Updated: Dec. 19, 2020 at 11:43 AM EST
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HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) – A Grand Strand family is calling it a nightmare come true. Their 13-year-old daughter is not only battling COVID-19 but now also leukemia.

Ariel Griffith, a student at Ocean Bay Middle School, is described by her mother, Lauren Hocin, as the best daughter, sister, niece and granddaughter, and Annie is one of her favorite movies.

But Ariel’s life has taken a heartbreaking turn in just the last few days.

Lauren spoke with WMBF News about her daughter’s tragic situation. She has also given us permission to use the photos taken of her daughter while in the hospital.

She said her 13-year-old has lived a happy and healthy life but recently started having issues catching her breath. They took her to Grand Strand Medical Center hospital where she was treated for COVID-19.

Ariel Griffith, a 13-year-old Oceans Bay Middle School student, has been diagnosed with both...
Ariel Griffith, a 13-year-old Oceans Bay Middle School student, has been diagnosed with both COVID-19 and leukemia.((Source: Lauren Hocin))
Ariel Griffith, a 13-year-old Oceans Bay Middle School student, is now battling COVID-19 and...
Ariel Griffith, a 13-year-old Oceans Bay Middle School student, is now battling COVID-19 and leukemia.((Source: Lauren Hocin))

Lauren has posted daily updates on Ariel’s condition which has included nausea, fever, pneumonia and what she calls “excruciating pain all day long.”

Ariel was given the green light to be transferred to the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, where specialists got straight to work to figure out what was wrong with the little girl.

On Thursday, Ariel was placed in the intensive care unit, where she was put on a ventilator and more tests were done. Then, Lauren was given the news that no parent wants to hear, her daughter has leukemia.

“The news took the breath straight from my lungs. Our hearts are in pieces but I am searching for small miracles and I have found them - they are all around us. Was COVID the blessing to reveal the real issue? Look at the support of our wonderful community and afar. She’s in the best place possible where they can take the best care of our girl,” Lauren wrote in a Facebook post.

Little Ariel started her chemotherapy on Friday and is expected to stay at MUSC for at least the next month.

Lauren’s sister-in-law started a GoFundMe account to help pay for medical expenses, but Lauren said that above all they are just asking for prayers, love and support, which Lauren said they’ve been getting a lot of over the past week.

RELATED LINK | GoFundMe to support Ariel Griffith

“I am floored that everybody cares so much. It helps take away some of the pain to know you have this many people thinking about you,” Lauren said to WMBF News. “The word I like to use is gratitude. I am sad but this has helped me stay strong. We have people rallying and we feel with this many people fighting for her she has to win.”

But through the devastating news, Lauren continues to think of her daughter’s favorite movie, Annie, and says that the sun will come out tomorrow as the family continues to hold onto their faith that Ariel will get through it all.

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