Trading cancer treatments for spa treatments – Packard Children’s teens get pampered at Girls’ Day Out

Laughter sounded through the hallways of the Tova Day Spa at the Fairmont San Jose hotel, and on the other side a group of patients from Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford were being pampered while discussing Netflix shows, playing games and brainstorming what to wear to prom this year. These may be normal topics of conversation for teens, but for girls undergoing cancer treatment, this day of fun, relaxation and spa treatments was a very welcome respite from their typical routines.

It was all part of Packard Children’s eighth annual Girls’ Day Out, the event that treats teen cancer patients of the Bass Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Diseases to a day of limo riding, relaxing, lunching and bonding with new friends. Ten girls, ages 12 to 18, were picked up at the hospital by a pink Hummer limo and taken to the Tova Day Spa, where they enjoyed a morning of massages, facials, manicures, pedicures, hair styling and makeup applications courtesy of the spa.


For many of the girls, the highlight of the day was meeting other teens who can relate to their experiences with cancer. “That’s what I’m most looking forward to about today — being around other girls who are going through things similar to what I’ve dealt with,” said 12-year-old Elena Saraba.

And as the day went on, the girls became fast friends, comparing stories about how their hair has grown back post-treatment and trading beauty tips for helping eyelashes grow back in even longer than before. “It’s the first time I’ve been around other girls my age who have cancer. It’s really nice we get to do this,” said 14-year-old Angela Michaud from Lake Almanor, California, who currently lives at the Ronald McDonald House at Stanford.


New friends Angela (left) and Elena pause for a selfie after having their makeup done.

Child Life Specialist Devon Artusio helped coordinate this year’s event. “It’s a great opportunity for these girls to be themselves and to relate to others about their experiences,” she said. “Plus, who doesn’t love a day of spa treatments? For them, taking time for rest and self-care is extra important.”


The teens at this year’s Girls’ Day Out are already planning their next get-together.

Discover more about our Stanford Medicine Children’s Health Bass Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Diseases.


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