No matter your age, finding someone who understands what you’re going through is life-changing. Life’s greatest challenges are compounded by feelings of isolation, but a single person can change everything. For 3-year-old Mack Porter who battled cancer at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, that person was 3-year-old Payson.
The brave 3-year-olds met due to less-than-ideal circumstances, but their friendship flourished within the sterile hospital walls. Mack battled anaplastic large cell lymphoma, and down the hall, Payson was fighting B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Fortunately, Mack’s cancer is in remission. Though the 3-year-old and his family were thrilled about Mack’s return home, one very important piece was missing.
“Every morning, his first question was, ’When can I play with Payson?’” mom Dani Porter told TODAY.
Last month, after Payson’s family received the wonderful news that her cancer was also in remission, the courageous duo reached another long-awaited milestone. After playing and interacting within the confines of a hospital, Mack and Payson met for the first time outside of the pediatric ward.
YOU’VE GOT A FRIEND IN ME!
Best friends Macky & Payson are so happy see each other for the 1st time outside the hospital walls❤️😭
— GoodNewsCorrespondent (@GoodNewsCorres1) August 10, 2021
Before the long-awaited reunion, Mack picked out a bouquet of flowers for his best friend. He got ready for his play date, carefully going through his toys and picking out only the ones he knew Payson would enjoy.
As Mack ran towards his best friend, the pair’s families were reminded of just how far they’ve come. Earlier this year, the three-year-olds formed a bond with IVs still attached to their tiny, tired bodies. They laughed and played between rounds of treatment, a saving grace given that the hospital’s playroom closed due to COVID. They gave each other something to look forward to when their days were unimaginably long and difficult, and now, both Payson and Mack look forward to starting preschool this fall.