It’s not everyday that you see a doctor dressed as a giant, pink unicorn. Then again, it’s not every day that you beat cancer, either!
Kyla is a 4-year-old girl from Florida who has an aggressive brain tumor. After eight months of receiving chemotherapy treatment at St. Jude Children’s hospital, things were looking up! In fact, her doctors determined that her tumor had shrunk enough that she could stop chemo and go home at long last.
The end of chemo is a special day at St. Jude’s. Doctors, nurses, and staff celebrate each patient’s victories with a “No More Chemo” party. They sing a special song that ends with, “pack up your bags, get out the door, you don’t get chemo anymore!”
In the days leading up to Kyla’s party, her doctor conspired with other members of the staff and Kyla’s family to make her party extra special. They decided that the best way to honor her milestone was to dress up in a costume, specifically, an inflatable unicorn costume that Kyla’s mother purchased a few days earlier!
Dr. Santosh Upadhyaya surprised Kyla on her big day by entering the room in the goofy get-up, and the child was absolutely delighted! She wore a special pink outfit with a tutu for the party and, once she recognized her doctor’s face in the costume, she gave him a big hug.
Working with pediatric oncology patients can be draining, devastating work, and you can tell the doctor thoroughly enjoyed making a happy memory for Kyla this time. He told PEOPLE that seeing her smile was his “biggest joy.”
“I was just wondering how Kyla is going to react and, is she even going to recognize me in this outfit?” he told the outlet. “That was the first time that I think I had seen her so happy.”
Kyla’s doctor went on to say that the “No More Chemo” parties may only be 10 minutes long, but they mean the world to both patients and caregivers. They’re symbolic victories in a larger battle, and they provide a moment to reflect on the journey while focusing on the future, too.
“It’s not just a celebration for them,” Dr. Upadhyaya said. “It is kind of many a times the feeling, ‘Okay now we have conquered the cancer and hopefully this will not come back.'”
Kyla is now enjoying time at home with family and friends. She finally gets to just be a kid, not a patient, but she and her family will never forget the send-off they got from Dr. Upadhyaya and the rest of the gang at St. Jude’s.
Watch the adorable moment Kyla sees the pink unicorn entering her room in the video below, and don’t forget to share.
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