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December 2007

Hutch School: Learning Through Life's Challenges

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2007;161(12):1122. doi:10.1001/archpedi.161.12.1122

A candle is lit and the lights are dimmed. Everyone in the classroom is looking at Grace as they begin singing. It is her seventh birthday. The song ends and Grace's eyes are bright as she inhales deeply. She must blow out the candles on her cupcake for her birthday wish to come true. The annual birthday celebration is a scene easily imagined around the country, an event shared in millions of American households. For what does Grace wish? A new bicycle, a puppy, maybe a visit to the top of the Space Needle, which is a well-known feature of the Seattle, Washington, skyline. As soon as the candles go out, Grace looks up and asks whether she can share her wish with the class, “I wish that my sister won't have cancer anymore.” No one gasps, no one looks away, and no one in this classroom is surprised. Everyone in this class shares that reality with Grace. These students have come to Seattle to support a family member receiving treatment at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.