Arimina's Story

Down syndrome, acute lymphoblastic leukemia

Grainger County, Tennessee 

Arimina portrait, full body, clapping with smile

Named after her great grandmother, Arimina (Air-ah-mine-ah) is a little girl who is as special — and as strong — as her name, which means “soldier.” Born with Down syndrome and now diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, Arimina and her family have bravely faced some tough times.

When Arimina was first diagnosed with leukemia, she and her mom, Amy, were sent to Memphis, where they learned Arimina would need a 120-week course of treatment. Devastated to think of being so far away from family in Grainger County, Amy was relieved to find out Arimina could have the treatments at the pediatric oncology clinic at Niswonger Children’s Hospital, only a 90-minute drive from home.

"It would have broken my heart to have to try to figure out how to stay in Memphis all that time,” said Amy. “Our family would have been separated for so long, and we need each other now more than ever.”

Because she has Down syndrome, Arimina has limited mobility and issues with motor skills. Amy said she has been impressed at how the child life specialists, nurses and physicians have been attuned to Arimina’s special needs to make her feel safe and welcome. “They really know how to handle things and take extra time with her,” Amy says. “I am so glad Niswonger Children’s Hospital is here. We don’t know how we would do it without them.”