JACKSONVILLE, Fla -- For most children, Halloween means costumes and candy, but for some, it's a break from a difficult schedule of doctor's appointments and treatment. This year, kids staying at the Ronald McDonald House got a special treat for Halloween.
If you ask two-year-old Jacqueline Rodriguez what her favorite part of her witch costume is, it's her hair. That's because Halloween means she gets to put on a wig and have long hair again. She's been battling a brain tumor for five months and traveled from Memphis to Jacksonville to get radiation. So trick or treating at the Ronald McDonald House is a chance for her to get to do something normal with her mom and little brother.
"You think, oh my God, Halloween is coming and you know we're not at home and we're not with our friends you know, but still the fact that we get to do this, it's priceless for us, because they're happy so we're happy," said Jacqueline's mom, Jessica Neri.
For most of the children at the Ronald McDonald House, Halloween would have been cancelled, but thanks to a spirited staff and lots of candy, the holiday was a chance for these children to escape a harder reality.
"The new normal for a lot of these parents is medication, chemotherapy, surgery, radiation, and so it's nice to get a break away from that and sort of get back to the way life used to be before these kids were diagnosed and Halloween is a part of that," said Michael Mclean, whose 8-year-old son is battling Hodgkin's Lymphoma.
Michael and his son traveled from Ft. Lauderdale and are on their fourth week at the Ronald McDonald House, which means they almost thought they were skipping Halloween this year.
"He's running around, he's super excited, he gets to see all the other kids, they feed off each other. All the kids are happy, so that makes the parents happy," said Mclean.
And part of that experience is meeting new friends. Like Gabriel Gonzalez, the Hulk. He is on his fifth week at the Ronald McDonald house getting radiation for a tumor and this is a big change from what he's used to.
"It makes me feel, bored," he said.
Reporter: "So doing this is kind of fun, you get to do stuff?"
"Yeah," said Gonzalez.
From a little princess witch, to Scooby Doo, and even the Hulk, by dressing up as something different, these kids get to feel just like other children.
First Coast News