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In a hospital room on the seventh floor of Kosair Children’s Hospital in Louisville on Thursday night, Rachel and Daniel Miles of Finchville held their little “Adda” in their arms, their trip to Disney World cut short by seizures and brain swelling.
Rachel began to pray.
She asked for one thing, she later said: for her previous day’s birthday wish to come true. She asked God to let Addison pass peacefully in her or Danny’s arms – with no more suffering.
But with Addison Miles’ cancer – there had never been anything simple about it. She endured so much pain during her nearly 2-year fight. So go in peace? Was that too much to ask for? Many asked that question as Rachel’s hope spread throughout the country via social media and spurred prayer after prayer echoing a mother’s one last wish.
Less than 20 miles away that Thursday evening, friends and family – those who had prayed throughout the family’s long ordeal – gathered outside St. Michael Catholic Church, the family’s church. Among flickering candles they prayed. First and foremost among those prayers: Please let Rachel’s birthday wish coming true.
They began praying at 6 p.m.
Then they sang. It was almost 6:30 as “Amazing Grace” resounded sweetly through the misty air.
Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.
When the song ended, the rain began. Tears from the heavens, some said.
In fact, sometime during the hymn, resting in the arms of her mommy and daddy, little Addison Lynn Miles was gone.
Rachel and Danny – and Adda’s big sister Abby – will never hold her again.
But it is the belief in something more – a belief in God – that comforts this family. They know in their hearts that Addison’s spirit will live on forever. It’s this same faith that has helped keep the family strong ever since the diagnosis on March 5, 2012, when doctors told them their daughter had Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Type B (ALL), a story chronicled these past two years.
Addison quickly became well-known on Kosair Children’s Hospital’s 7 West, the floor that welcomes little warriors of cancer.
It was there that she celebrated most holidays, including her first and second birthdays. She received three bone marrow transplants during a fight that motivated family and friends to host multiple community-wide bone marrow, organ donor and blood donation drives, including one at Shelby Christian Church. And her battle encouraged more than 100 men, women and children to shave their heads in support of St. Baldrick’s Foundation.
As her obituary said, “She made a difference in this world.”
“She is unbelievably tough,” said David Miles of Shelbyville, Addison’s paternal grandfather, in March 2012. “She complains very little and keeps fighting back. She is truly an inspiration.”
For the past several months – since early February – Addison was finally able to spend some time outside of 7 West. She sat outside in the grass. She went swimming. She played – at home – with her Barbie dream house. And she played – lots – with her sister and cousins. There were even days free of vomiting and diarrhea.
But in early October, the cancer began fighting again. And about a month after her relapse, the family said they knew they had run out of medical options.
Addison’s body began to deteriorate quickly, but thanks to the Children’s Wish Foundation, a last-minute trip to Disney World and other attractions in Central Florida was in order.
A trip cut short
The first few days in Orlando went well. The family ate dinner at Downtown Disney, visited a mammoth Lego store and fed dolphins, seals and sharks at Sea World.
But it was that day, Day 5 of the trip and the day visiting Shamu, that Addison seemed different. Rachel said she hoped her daughter was just tired from all of the activities.
But the next day, on Nov. 20, at 4:30 p.m., the trip was cut short. Addison began vomiting and seizing and had to be intubated.
Rachel, Danny and Addison left via air ambulance from Orlando’s Arnold Palmer Children’s Hospital to take her “home” to Kosair Children’s Hospital. There, a CAT scan showed swelling in Addison’s brain, explaining the cause of her seizures that morning.
Two years prior, Addison had received her first sacrament, Baptism. On this day at Kosair, Addison received her last sacrament and was anointed by a Father Bill whose middle name is Addison.
Addison was laid to rest on Tuesday.
Addison Miles’ family asks that expressions of sympathy be made to Children’s Hospital Foundation, In Honor of Addison Miles; Dept. 86140, P.O. Box 950183, Louisville, 40295.