Meet Hippo, stuffed lovey extraordinaire. On the evening of December 2, 2010 Hippo stayed with Jacob in his hospital room at LPCH while Mom and Dad walked into a conference room full of doctors to hear the words "I am sorry, your son has leukemia, and we need to begin treatment immediately."  Hippo sat with Jacob during his first of many blood and platelet transfusions that same night. The next day Hippo watched Jacob get put to sleep for the first time to get a PICC line, a lumbar puncture to check for leukemia cells in his CNS, and a bone marrow biopsy while Mom and Dad nervously sat in the waiting room. Afterwards Hippo laid by Jacob's side when he was in so much pain the nurses hooked him up to a morphine pump. At midnight Hippo comforted Jacob as he had a baseline echocardiogram, which was required before he could get one of his first chemotherapy drugs that can potentially cause heart damage.  Then at 3:00 AM Hippo was curled up against Jacob as the nurse administered his first ever IV chemotherapy. Hippo fearlessly sat in a hospital bed for over 2 weeks (at one point during steroids Jacob thought Hippos ears looked like scalloped potatoes, and we feared for his safety!) until we were allowed to bring Jacob home to continue his leukemia treatments outpatient.

In January 2011 Hippo again went with Jacob into surgery to get his PICC line taken out and a port placed.

Over the next 2 years Hippo has accompanied Jacob on countless weekly chemotherapy treatments / blood & platelet transfusions / labs / port access / x-rays / shots / visits to the ER / back pokes /  inpatient stays and even a scary stay in PICU in July of 2011 when Jacob had a bacterial blood infection and went into septic shock. (Mom and Dad were very scared, good thing Hippo knows how to keep his cool). Hippo has seen the good, the bad and the ugly.

On November 29, 2012 Hippo stepped up to the plate once again, watching over Jacob during surgery for port removal while Mom and Dad sat (not quite so nervously this time) in the waiting room.

December 2, 2012 marks 2 years since Jacob's diagnosis. If this Hippo could talk, he would tell you how he never imagined what his job would end up being when a 9 year old boy eagerly plucked him off the shelf at Ikea and begged to take him home. Hippo was picked randomly, from a sea of a hundred Hippos exactly like him, just like cancer randomly picked his new owner. If this Hippo could talk he would tell you that childhood cancer doesn't seem so rare after you sit in a packed clinic waiting room every week for 2 years watching other families in every stage of the fight. If this Hippo could talk, he would tell you to never take your health or family for granted.

Please consider taking a new stuffed toy to your local children's hospital oncology floor this holiday season. These kids are tough as nails, but could use all the support they can get. The stuffed toy you donate may end up becoming a child's "Hippo".