Monai’s Story: How the Maynard Children’s Hospital is helping a teen fight cancer

Updated: Jun. 4, 2021 at 8:19 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - This weekend will bring with it our 36th annual Children’s Miracle Network Telethon to benefit the Maynard Children’s Hospital in Greenville.

Over the years we’ve brought you countless stories of the children’s lives changed by the tireless efforts of staff at the hospital.

That includes 16-year-old Monai Walker who’s been battling a rare cancer for over a year now.

“It really started May 13th, when I finally went to the hospital because I was having a lot of back pain and nausea and I thought it was because I slept on my back wrong,” explained Walker.

But her trip to that hospital would lead her to be sent to Vidant and Maynard Children’s Hospital where Monai underwent numerous tests and scans, and then finally Monai and her mother Morgan heard the news that no one ever wants to hear, it was cancer.

Her diagnosis was of a rare cancer called Rhabdomyosarcoma, “At the time they told me it was still hard for me to grasp because not my child as a parent you never think that your child would be one of the ones that has cancer,” said Monai’s mom, Morgan Watkins.

Monai started undergoing treatment for her cancer which includes chemotherapy and radiation. But aside from the life-saving treatment, Monai says the Children’s Hospital has provided much more.

“I have a special bond with every nurse and every doctor and it’s just the connection that they have with their patients it’s like they love their jobs and it makes you feel a lot more comfortable to be there,” said Walker.

One of those special bonds is with nurse Keanna Baker who has been helping care for Monai for more than a year now.

Baker says Monai has become a very important patient to her, and one she always makes time to see, even if she isn’t directly caring for the teen that day.

“She always has a smile on her face it doesn’t matter she could be feeling really sick or nauseous, vomiting, everything under the sun, and she will still manage to have that beautiful face, her smile, her laugh,” explained Baker.

Monai says she has managed to stay positive because of her mom and with the help of the nurses and doctors that care for her.

Monai is still receiving treatment to fight her cancer but is making great progress towards remission.

You can help make sure miracles like Monai’s continue to happen by tuning in and making a pledge this Sunday during our Children’s Miracle Network telethon.

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