In August of 2007, Hillary, a 10th grader, was in class at Jacksonville High School and noticed an unusual lump by her collar bone. Her parents took her to their family doctor the next day. Then she was sent to Jacksonville Medical Center in Jacksonville, Alabama for an ultrasound and a CAT scan. Later that day she was sent to an ENT specialist in Anniston where she was told she needed more extensive studies and was referred to Children’s Hospital in Birmingham. The diagnosis was Hodgkin’s disease. After three months of chemotherapy, her doctor recommended radiation therapy. Her parents were somewhat concerned with the potential negative physical effects of radiation and wanted an atmosphere that would be conducive to their teenage daughter's condition.
They began to research on the Internet. Little did they know that while they were at Children’s Hospital with Hillary for her chemotherapy treatments, their friends and family were doing their homework and researching facilities for Hillary. They came to the same conclusion that the Hendersons came to: “It didn’t take us long to find out that UAB Department of Radiation Oncology is the leading facility for pediatric radiation treatment in the Southeast.”
For 2 ½ weeks, Hillary came to UAB for her treatment and described her care here in this manner: “Oh, it was great. It was a pleasure and wonderful to be under their care. Everyone was so friendly and comforting with big smiles when they greeted me.”
Now Hillary is back to her old self, enjoying being a junior at Jacksonville High School. She is also involved in church activities, school sorority activities and community volunteerism. She wears a big smile all the time and says, “ I have learned to appreciate the little things in life.”