Owen Buell is a sweet toddler who suffers from neuroblastoma, a type of cancer that forms in certain types of nerve tissue. Sadly, that forced him to spend an extensive part of his life at the hospital.
A couple of days ago, Owen turned two, but he wasn’t able to celebrate his birthday in the comfort of his home, surrounded by his family and the people who love him. The reason why were the looters who made it too dangerous for him to travel back home. Namely, he and his parents were staying at the local Ronald McDonald House, which provides comforting environment for sick children and their families.
The day prior to Owen’s big day, his mom Valerie Mitchell got a call from the nurse who told her the devastating news.
“Her exact words were, ‘I don’t know if you’ve seen the news yet, but they’re protesting or rioting outside Lurie Children’s, and we’re going to cancel all of the appointments today. I was crying. I was mad, extremely mad,” Valerie told CBSN Chicago.
Luckily, Owen and his parents got home a day after his birthday and he still got to have a birthday party. The Chicago police department offered to escort the family home, making sure they are safe and sound.
The Ronald McDonald House is near the Lurie Children’s Hospital and a temporary home to around 30 families with sick children. On the night of the protests, all the people staying there were terribly frightened. The looters caused a mess, smashed windows, and gunfire shots could be heard.
“[They were] very concerned there was a lot of activity right in front of the house, people making choices that could put them at risk and put our families at risk, so the staff was frightened,” Ronald McDonald House Charities’ Lisa Mitchell told ABC7.
Owen’s relatives set up a GoFundMe page that would help the family financially because no one is certain how much more time the sweet boy would have to spend at the hospital.
There is also a Facebook page where the family keeps everyone updated about Owen’s condition. “Thank you everyone. We knew this journey would be long and difficult, we just didn’t know how difficult it could be when the world decides to throw in a few monkey wrenches,” the site says.
We wish Owen a very happy birthday and many more to come. We hope he will end up winner in the battle with cancer and will have an amazing life. Stay strong Owen, you are a little hero.