Izzy Strong: Childhood cancer in the time of the coronavirus

Local News

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) – The Bondell family moved to Mount Pleasant in April of 2020, just before the pandemic shut down most of the Lowcountry. They said that moving the middle of a pandemic has made it hard to get to know their neighbors, for both themselves and their two young girls.

Izabella Bondell, also known as Izzy, is their zombie, Descendants, unicorn, and butterfly loving 5-year-old. Two short months after moving to the Lowcountry, her parents Casey and Alison Bondell noticed something was off. 

She wasn’t eating as well and you know acting like herself. She’s really silly and goofy and she was just kind of angry and  we thought it maybe it was because we moved. So we honestly thought it might have been depression a little bit, but when she had the fever and you know constant frequency of having to urinate—I was like well she definitely has a UTI. 

Alison Bondell, Mom to Izzy 

Being a Nurse Practitioner herself, Alison knew Izzy’s infection would need antibiotics. With COVID-19 in full swing, the family opted for a Telehealth appointment where the pediatrician would prescribe Bactrim—commonly used to treat a UTI.

Later that night, Izzy woke up with bad back pain on her left side where her kidneys are. Alison knew right away it was some sort of kidney infection, which she knew would need IV antibiotics. 

After heading to MUSC’s hospital and undergoing an ultrasound, among other tests, the results were in. It was an 18-centimetre cancer mass found in her Kidney—and it was spreading to her lungs.

While being a kid with cancer is hard—being a kid with cancer in the times of COVID-19 is worse. 

She can’t see another kid and talk to them and Understand. It’s bad enough with Covid. Right, they took away all the fun stuff for the kids. So there’s no entertainers, there’s no dogs—no family members besides us. And everybody wears a mask so you can’t even see whose treating you—and I mean I understand all the reasons. It just literally went from my healthy child who had two ear infections to a UTI to Stage 4 Cancer. 

Alison & Casey Bondell,  Izzy’s Parents 

While MUSC does have virtual bingo games, for more social kids like Izzy, it’s not the same as face to face interactions.

It’s awful, but she’ll get through it.

Alison Bondell, Mom to Izzy

The family said while they are still new to the community, those that have reached out, written letters, and sent gifts have helped put a smile on Izzy’s face.

They are asking for more thoughts and prayers for her recovery. 

To follow their story, click here.

For their Facebook Fundraiser, click here.

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