By Sanford Children's Hospital

Imagine hearing the words, “your child had cancer.”

This diagnosis didn’t seem possible to Amanda. She had taken her 2-year-old daughter, Nieva, to Sanford Children’s Hospital for blood tests, suspecting Nieva was suffering symptoms of a food allergy. But instead, doctors found leukemia.

“Nothing can possibly prepare you for that moment where you realize there is a chance you will lose your child forever,” she said.

The months that followed Nieva’s diagnosis in March 2013 were a blur of sleepless nights and emotional days. By the fall, Nieva’s golden curls were lost to chemotherapy … but not her spirit.

“She goofs around with all the staff and acts like she owns the place, which is a great thing to see,” laughs Amanda. "If we didn't have the Castle in Sioux Falls, if we didn't have cutting-edge treatment available for what Nieva was going through, I don’t know how we could have managed this.”

In July, 2017, Nieva is going to play a new role…she’s going to be a big sister!

Sanford Children's Hospital