Community supporters following Salma Richani’s 14-month journey will gather for a going-away celebration
Holtz Children’s Hospital patient Salma Richani; her parents, Dr. Kaled Richani and Elizabeth Richani; her siblings, Kaled Jr. and Kamila Richani; Holtz Children’s physicians and nurses; community members.
In March 2014, the Richani family was vacationing in Miami from their native Venezuela when 4-year-old Salma complained of severe back pain and had trouble walking. Her parents brought her to the emergency room at Holtz Children’s Hospital at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center.
After several tests, they received the worst news of their life: Salma had neuroblastoma, a rare type of cancer that affects the nervous system in young children.
Since then, Salma has courageously battled the disease – undergoing dozens of hospitalizations, multiple rounds of chemotherapy, and a stem cell transplant at Holtz Children’s.
Still, Salma has always remained in great spirits with a positive outlook. Everyone she encounters – from her doctors and nurses to other patients and their families – fall in love with Salma.
Throughout Salma’s treatment, her family was always by her side. Her father, Dr. Kaled Richani, would wake her up every morning with music, something that always made her smile.
“We thought we would never see this day,” said Salma’s father. “It has been a long road full of fears and uncertainties.”
Salma captivated the hearts of all those who crossed her path. Over the past year, she has received countless messages through social media using the hashtag, #Love4Salma.
Salma’s parents recorded a video of their daughter singing and dancing to her favorite song, “Volvi a Nacer” – “I am reborn again” – by Colombian superstar, Carlos Vives. The video went viral and was shared by thousands on the Internet. It even caught the attention of Vives. The singer visited Salma at Holtz Children’s and invited her to attend one of his concerts, in which she was astounded when he asked her on stage to sing with him.
As Salma completes her last round of treatment, her parents have planned a surprise flash mob to greet her as soon as she leaves the hospital Friday morning. Nearly 100 people are expected to participate, including members of the local community, Salma’s caregivers from Holtz Children’s, her family, and friends.
“She has proven to be strong, happy and positive, changing the lives of everyone that has followed her story,” said her father. “This is why on her last day we want to give her this gift.”
June 05, 2015, 10:30 a.m.
Holtz Children’s Hospital
1611 N.W. 12th Avenue
Outside of Holtz Children’s entrance
Miami, FL 33136
Media can park near Ryder Trauma Center and walk near Holtz Children’s Hospital entrance. Salma and her parents are bilingual.
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Jackson Health System
1611 N.W. 12th Avenue Miami, FL 33136