By Alyce Collins
A devastating cancer diagnosis forced this girl to endure four gruelling months of chemotherapy before finally completing treatment.
When Lynden Smith, from Rancho Mission Viejo, California, was diagnosed with stage three anaplastic large cell lymphoma in July 2019, she faced a tough battle of regular five-day inpatient stays in hospital as she received treatment.
Thanks to the chemotherapy, the seven-year-old lost her hair and her immune system deteriorated, meaning she could barely leave the house even to attend school or visit friends.
Upon finishing treatment on November 23 2019, Lynden told her parents she wanted a pet and mum Amanda had the perfect idea to celebrate the end of her chemotherapy.
The day after completing treatment, Lynden was surprised to find a pet rabbit waiting for her on the doorstep, marking the end of her trauma and the start of a new joyful chapter.
Lynden has named the rabbit Penny and having her has given her something positive to focus on, something to look forward to and not to mention a cuddly companion.
Amanda said: “Lynden was diagnosed with anaplastic large cell lymphoma on July 9, 2019.
“She started chemotherapy on July 25 and did six five-day inpatient cycles and would be home for about two and a half weeks in between.
“Obviously she lost her hair, she became sick a lot and she was immune compromised so she had to stay home a lot. She wasn’t able to go to school, church, birthday parties or even the store during that time.
“One of my friends had bunnies which had just been born and we were watching them on Instagram and she said she wanted one. We knew we look after do a bunny, so the friend said she would give us one for Lynden as soon as they were ready to leave its mum. It just so happened to coincide with her ending chemo treatment.
“We gave her the bunny the day after her last chemo. We threw a big surprise party for her that day and she told one our friends she thought the surprise would be a pet. After the party was over, I drove down to San Diego to pick up the bunny.
“Penny has been a good therapy pet not only for Lynden but also me. She loves to take care of her and cuddle her. It gives her something to take care of and look forward to.”