MT. JULIET, Tenn. (WKRN) — In light of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, News 2 sat down with a 10-year-old lymphoma patient who is inspiring people in Mt. Juliet and beyond.
Between chemo treatments and therapy, Vivian Oettel has been in and out of the Children’s Hospital at TriStar Centennial for the past 10 months amid her battle with T-cell acute lymphoblastic lymphoma.
What her parents thought was the flu, turned into a diagnosis that changed their lives forever.
“Our world basically turned upside down,” Brandon Oettel, Vivian’s father, recalled.
Despite several long hospital stays and becoming very ill with an unknown lung infection, Vivian has never stopped fighting.
“She’s done some amazing things, and it’s really inspired me to see her, how strong she is…She’s my greatest hero,” Brandon said.
While Vivian continues her cancer treatments, she is also helping a few dozen inpatient cancer patients along the way.
“‘We hope this gift blesses you and reminds you that you are loved and not forgotten. With love, Vivian,'” Vivian read from one of her cards.
Through Vivian’s HOPE Foundation, the Mt. Juliet girl has raised $5,000 to donate gift cards to families throughout the hospital.
“We’re trying to help all the cancer families that are inpatient right now,” Vivian said.
While Vivian may come across soft spoke at first, she’s captured the hearts of her medical staff.
“Vivian is such a special patient,” Dr. Clint Carroll told News 2. “We love all our patients, but she is a really, really special one.”
She also caught the attention of her favorite country star, Morgan Wallen, who even addressed her in a personalized video: “Hi Vivian! It’s Morgan Wallen. I just wanted to send you a video and let you know I was thinking about you, checking on you, praying for you, rooting for you, and hopefully I can get you out to a show real soon. Keep fighting!”
Vivian is already planning to meet Wallen and watch his Georgia show in November.
If you would like to learn more about or make a donation to Vivian’s HOPE Foundation, click here.