4-year-old Buffalo girl fights cancer at St. Jude’s Hospital – We’re hoping you’ll send her a card!

April 6, 2018

Written By

Mary Friona Celani

Hannah Boyer is four and a half years old – she is being treated at St. Jude’s Hospital and is fighting incredibly hard. She was back home in Buffalo recently to visit family and friends. It was a miracle visit, her mom says.


While home, Hannah got to see her new bedroom made by Special Spaces Buffalo, “Hannah loves Buffalo. We all love Buffalo,” Hannah’s mother, Chandra told me, “This is her safe spot, her room. She knew she had a surprise room, but she didn’t know what it was. She really wanted to come see it.”

We’ll share more of the mermaid themed room in a bit – but first, we want to tell you about Hannah.



Hannah was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia in January of 2016. She was just two years old. Hannah’s parents, Chandra and Arlen noticed a rash and some bruising on their toddler. They never imagined, for one moment, what they would hear from the doctor, “The doctor said, “I think your daughter has Leukemia.” And that is when the world stopped. That was the last day I worked.”



That was January 8, 2016. Two days later, Sunday, January 10th – Hannah and Chandra were at St. Jude’s Research Hospital, “They called and said, we want Hannah here today,” Chandra recalls, “They sent a little medical plane from Memphis at 10 o’clock on Sunday night and we arrived at 4 in the morning. Then, things started on Monday morning.  Those 72 hours were the craziest of my life.”

Hannah was treated and came home to Buffalo – until she relapsed in December of 2016. Then it was back to St. Jude’s and that is basically where they’ve been ever since.


Two bone marrow transplants, chemotherapy, radiation, dozens of bone marrow biopsies, and countless other treatments have gotten Hannah here – back to Buffalo for what has been an amazing week, “She’s feeling well. All of her organs are functioning and she’s feeling good. Two weeks ago, they said they didn’t think Hannah would be here for Easter. They told us to call our family and that is what we did. We celebrated Easter a week early because we didn’t know if she would be here.”

It was another Easter in the hospital. But, it was another Easter with Hannah.

She made it to Easter and beyond. She’s a tough, courageous fighter and her parents say this time with her is a true gift, “She’s had a wonderful time with her family and had time to play and be a normal kid. We’ve been given this time and appreciate it and praise God for that. It has been amazing.” Chandra calls it a blessing. A gift from God.

Hannah has been making daily visits to Roswell for blood platelets. They’ll head back to St. Jude’s this weekend. Back to the doctors, nurses, treatments. Back to their reality. Their second home, “St. Jude is amazing. It’s wonderful. They do so much and she does love it there, too.  She has a wonderful team of people who are there and supporting her.  St. Jude has given us more than we could have imagined. She wasn’t ever at a place where she qualified for a standard transplant. Without a transplant, we wouldn’t have had Hannah for a year post-diagnosis. St. Jude has given us so much time with Hannah that we wouldn’t have had. All this time. It’s a gift.”


And that is what Hannah’s family is praying for – more time. Chandra hopes for more time as they wait for more options; new clinical trials or anything that might work. Anything that might save Hannah, “For right now, Hannah is really stable. Her disease is high in her bloodstream. We haven’t gotten to the point in the past where it’s spilled out in her bloodstream, but that is where we are at now.”


Still, they hold onto hope just as they hold onto their little girl. Because that’s what parents do.



Chandra has seen so much heartache in the past two years. But, she’s also witnessed so much good. The generosity of the community, strangers, the folks at Camp Good Days, including one of their donors who has helped Hannah get back and forth to Memphis.



Pediatric cancer is brutal. For the tiny patient. For the parents. For siblings, like Hannah’s brother, Asher who adores his little sister.



“Pediatric cancer is heartbreaking and it changes everything. When Hannah was first diagnosed I had no idea how much it would change my family dynamic,” Chandra admits, “It just changes you. It changes everything. It really does. But, people are so kind. I can’t imagine. They’re so wonderful. I’m broken by this, but it is beautiful. It has been heartbreakingly beautiful.”




If you’re wondering what you can do to help Hannah – here are some options.


  • Pray.
  • Send her a card. She loves getting mail! Hannah Boyer, 1811 Poplar Avenue, Apartment #506, Memphis, TN 38104.
  • Donate blood and platelets in Hannah’s name.  Chandra can’t stress enough what that alone has meant to her little girl, “I feel like people do not realize how much of a gift of life that really is. She gets platelets every single day. Kids are using so many blood products. We couldn’t go 48 hours without it. She wouldn’t make it 48 hours. These people are giving the gift of life and if people would donate in her name, that would be wonderful.”
  • Donate to the family’s GoFundMe Account – https://www.gofundme.com/


Hannah will enjoy her new bedroom for one more day before heading back to Memphis, “She is just really excited to have a grown up big girl room. She has become interested in makeup and she has a make up mirror and she just loves it and loves the mermaids on her ceiling. She left here and had a baby room with her crib still and now she has this room and she loves it.”

But, for now, it’s back to the Target House at St. Jude’s.

As we think about this adorable little girl, it is incredibly important to spread the word – for Hannah and all of the other children battling cancer and those we’ve lost to the disease – that 4% is unacceptable. 4% of funding raised goes to research pediatric cancer. Those children deserve so much more. Contact your lawmakers and demand change.

Do it for all of those beautiful children.

Do it for Hannah.




About Me



Welcome to Totally Buffalo! A local lifestyle website.

My name is Mary Friona-Celani and I am the creator of this site! I’m a wife, a mom, a grandma, a Buffalo booster, an entrepreneur and a small business owner. I’m so glad you stopped by.  After 20 years in the buffalo media, I went out on my own to tell stories about the people, places, events and all-around fabulousness of this wonderful place we call home. Buffalo is different and so is this site. We are here to share stories, encourage kindness, and help make this a better place to live.

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