When you are asked to make a wish, what do you wish for?

What I wish for is…

The latest treatment.

The best care.

Comfort. Smiles. Hope.

Every year, Blank Children’s Hospital has served as one of Principal Charity Classic (PCC) Tournament Charity Partners. Proceeds from Principal Charity Classic make wishes like mine come true. For patients like my son, Axel.

PCC’s partnership provides state-of-the-art equipment, the latest in clinical trials and specialized care, just to name a few.

The support from this event gave me hope and care last January when Axel contracted   COVID-19 at just twelve months old. He had a hard time fighting the virus, which really scared us. What concerned my husband and me even more were the changes we saw two months later.

I took Axel to our pediatrician because I knew something was off. He was very lethargic and didn’t want to use his legs, regardless of how much we were pushing him to walk.

That’s when the doctor noticed the faintest round spots on his legs.

Axel was rushed to Blank Children’s Emergency Department where we were met with nurses and doctors asking many questions and starting countless tests.

Our lives changed in an instant when we were told Axel had Leukemia and needed to start treatment right away.

Our world stopped.

You can imagine the next several months were the hardest of our lives. The biggest thing we reminded ourselves was to take it one day at a time – sometimes it came down to hour by hour. While it never got easier, every day was one day closer to the goal of Axel being cancer-free.

As difficult as it was and still is, we have never felt alone.

PCC’s gift extends a helping hand to the teams at Blank Children’s who go above and beyond to help children like Axel feel supported and loved inside a place that can feel scary and lonely.

Because of Axel’s diagnosis, we stayed inpatient at Blank Children’s for 35 days. As unfortunate as it was to be hospitalized for that length of time, we were comforted knowing Axel was receiving the best, most individualized care possible.

We will never forget the moment we found out Axel was in remission. Our entire care team: doctors, nurses and team members walked into our room with disco lights, music, maracas and bubbles – all to celebrate this long-awaited day!

We are so thankful for PCC’s continued support and creating these special memories for patients at Blank Children’s Hospital.

As I reflect on Axel’s cancer journey, I am filled with gratitude for the support we were given at Blank Children’s. You never think something like this is going to happen to you, your child or someone you know – and when it does, it is easy to feel lost.

Thank you for bringing comfort and guidance to children like Axel in their cancer journey.

-Haley Walsh (Axel’s mom)



About Blank Children’s Hospital

At Blank Children’s Hospital, a service of UnityPoint Health, we embrace a family-centered care philosophy where families are recognized as the most important part of a child’s healing process and are encouraged to be actively involved in patient care as the constant in children’s lives. From spending the night in their child’s room to family space and play areas, Blank Children’s Hospital is full of amenities to make family involvement easy and comfortable. Our care philosophy has shown that children are less anxious, require less medication and recover faster.