Winship Cancer Institute patient gives gifts, spreads holiday cheer

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ATLANTA – A patient at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University at Emory Johns Creek Hospital is using her creativity to cheer up other patients and take their minds off chemotherapy.

Naomi Ziva, 44, has stage IV metastatic colorectal cancer. She recently dressed up as the Grinch and her friend, Jennifer, as Cindy Lou-who from Dr. Seuss’ “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” They passed out gifts to patients and staff before Ziva’s chemotherapy treatment.

“As bad as many of us feel during chemo sessions, when I dress up in costume, I feel it’s like taking a break from having cancer,” Ziva said. “If I can bring a smile to someone’s face by doing this, it makes all the difference.”

Ziva was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in June 2016. After two chemotherapy infusion treatments, she and her friend decided to dress up as superheroes. Since then, Ziva has shown up for almost every chemotherapy treatment as a different character and passed out flowers. She has dressed up as the lamp shade from “A Christmas Story,” Slash from Guns N’ Roses, a WWE wrestler, Wonder Woman, and Madonna.

“Patients really look forward to seeing Naomi and what she’s going to come up with next,” said Ashley Kennedy, Winship at EJCH nurse manager.

Ziva said she hopes other patients who are fighting similar battles will ask for help if they need it and try to remain positive on their uphill journey.

“There are days when I say, ‘I can’t do this’ but, you must do your best to find your smile,” Ziva said. “There’s a million things about cancer that will push you to be defeated, but it’s up to you to be happy.”

For information about cancer treatment at Winship, call 888-946-7447 or visit winshipcancer.emory.edu.


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