TALLMADGE, Ohio (WJW)– When the COVID-19 virus prevented a teen cancer survivor from ringing the traditional survivors’ bell at Akron Children’s Hospital, her parents decided to bring the party to their home.
“I had no idea what was happening,” said 14-year-old Lorelai Campbell. “I heard my mom basically yelling at me to come outside, and there were sirens.”
The Tallmadge teen learned that she was cancer free earlier Monday and had been looking forward to ringing the bell, but was told it had been taken down because of concerns over the coronavirus.
“Were you bummed?” asked FOX 8’s Suzanne Stratford.
“I was! I wanted to at least ring the bell even though I knew the party wasn’t going to happen,” Lorelai said.
But then around 5 p.m. several firetrucks began blasting their sirens, as they slowly drove past the family’s home on Fernwood Avenue. They were followed by nearly 40 other decorated vehicles and police cruisers all honking their horns and carrying signs celebrating Lorelai’s courage and strength.
“I was not expecting that at all,” said a beaming Lorelai. “That was so cool!”
Her parents, Lyle and Tina Campbell, said they made a few calls to organize the parade, but were overwhelmed by the tremendous turnout.
“We’re very thankful to everyone who came out to show us love,” said a teary-eyed Tina. “It’s just been hard because you just don’t know what’s going to happen, but I knew the light at the end of the tunnel was coming and it was getting brighter, so here it is.”
Lorelai still has follow up checkups and will get to ring the bell this coming summer once the virus threat has passed.
She hopes other cancer a patients see her story and keep fighting, realizing they can beat cancer too.