KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A 2-year-old girl has spent most of her life in and out of the hospital to treat a hemangioma, a vascular tumor on her face.
While at Children’s Mercy Hospital Kansas in Overland Park, she met a nurse who had the same growth in the same exact place.
When Maria Olson first met Emma, she saw herself in the little girl. Olson had a hemangioma, a non-cancerous growth, consuming the left side of her face.
“It did take up a big part of the cheek, very bright red. It was very big, tennis ball size maybe,” she recalled.
The tumor is in the same place as Emma’s hemangioma, at least what’s left of it. What you see now is just scar tissue. That’s how the friendship between nurse and patient formed.
“Maria came in and said, 'oh my gosh, I have to meet Emma.' She has a hemangioma in the right same spot and I started looking at her lip and I wouldn’t have known it,” said mom Mariane Weinand.
It took 16 surgeries to remove the growth on Olson’s face. But Emma only used oral medicine to reduce the size. What Olson provides for Emma’s mom, Mariane Weinand, is hope.
“It made me so happy to see someone had something similar and have so much self esteem, who looks beautiful both on the inside and outside. She looks so much like Emma it made me think of Emma as a grownup,” she said.
At one point, Emma’s hemangioma was so big doctor’s thought it would impair her breathing and vision.