2-year-old Leominster girl battling rare form of leukemia celebrates birthday in hospital

TEMPLETON, MASS. (WHDH) - A 2-year-old girl receiving treatment for a rare form of leukemia celebrated her birthday Sunday with a party in her hospital room in Boston.

Although Juliet’s birthday party was planned for August, a leukemia diagnosis just days before postponed the festivities.

But during the celebration at the Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center on Sunday, Juliet enjoyed a special cake made by the kitchen staff, tore open presents, and forgot about her treatments for a while.

The little girl’s parents still wanted to celebrate her birthday, even if the original plans changed.

“I didn’t want cancer to steal the joy of her second birthday,” Alyssa Cali, Juliet’s mother, said.

People from across the state donated gifts, cards, and sent well wishes that now decorate Juliet’s home away from home.

“Any time she gets little cards or packages or whatever, it just makes her day,” Cali said. “And sometimes it’s the only smile we get for the day, so all of this today has just been really wonderful.”

Juliet was diagnosed with AML leukemia, a form of cancer normally found in adults. She has a rare genetic mutation of the disease, making treatment difficult.

“It was from being tired over the course of a week, to having a rash, then suddenly getting up in the morning and not being able to walk,” Cali said. “It was very startling how fast it happened.”

Juliet has already undergone her first of five rounds of chemotherapy. A bone marrow transplant is also an option.

Through it all, her parents say she has been a warrior.

“She’s an amazing, happy little girl,” Dennis Robichaud, Juliet’s father, said.

Her older siblings, Brayden and Ellie have been right by her side while her parents try to figure out how to keep everyone together.

Juliet’s mom was just 60 days into her surgical residency when her daughter became sick, and she just learned the hospital where she was working will not hold her position.

“We have the concerns of how we’re going to take care of our other two children while we’re both here with Juliet in the hospital,” Cali said. “It takes a village, it takes not being afraid to ask for help, something that we’re learning every day.”

Juliet’s family set up a Go Fund Me page and are hosting a benefit concert next month.

Anyone wanting to send Juliet cards, toys, or words of encouragement can send them to P.O. Box 447 in Templeton, MA 01468.

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