In 2023, Sumukh (DJ Ash) was a frequent flyer in Seacrest Studios at Children's National Hospital. We checked in with his mom to hear more about his story and the impact Seacrest Studios had on his medical journey:
RSF: Can you tell us a little bit about Sumukh (DJ Ash) and his medical journey?
Sumukh’s Mom: Sumukh started feeling nauseous most of the time in January, followed by chills and high fevers round the clock by the end of the month! Initially we thought it could be food poisoning or viral fever but since fever continued even after 10+ days, his pediatrician ordered for multiple tests and blood work. On Feb 9th his pediatrician called us with the news that Sumukh had Leukemia. Our world turned upside down, our brains stopped working and couldn't stop crying. Our pediatrician had already contacted Children’s National Hospital and advised us to go to the ER right away. We wanted to wait to tell Sumukh until we ourselves knew what was going on. We had to pull ourselves together and put on a smiling face for the sake of Sumukh. He sensed that we looked worried and sad so was trying his best to have a conversation and make us laugh! When we went to the ER, everyone worked so swiftly and within 24 hours he was admitted, and the treatment began. We were at the hospital for 6+ months for his chemo. There were many sad/nervous/painful days, but Sumukh always had a positive attitude and completed his treatment successfully.
RSF: How do you think your experience would have been different if you were treated at a hospital without a Seacrest Studio?
Sumukh’s Mom: Sumukh is a very social and happy kid. There is never a dull moment when he's around! When we told him about his diagnosis, he got very scared and did not know what to expect. Once he knew what was going on and we assured him that everything would be ok, he started to feel better. But he missed playing with friends, going to school, going to after school activities and being himself. That's when we came to know about Seacrest Studios and BINGO time every week! He played BINGO from his room the very first time and went to the studio in-person when WWE champions came for an interview. Sumukh got so excited to meet the champions – there was no slowing down after that! Seacrest Studios truly helped Sumukh forget his cancer and stay active and happy while at the hospital.
RSF: What has this space meant to you on your journey?
Sumukh’s Mom: Seacrest Studios has played a very important role in our journey at Children’s National Hospital. Without it, we wouldn’t have been able to keep Sumukh active and happy. In the studio, he could be a kid and be himself because of the wonderful programs the studio would organize! Sumukh got his DJ Ash name there and everyone at the hospital now knows him by DJ name. He always looked forward to BINGO and other in-person programs like game time, interviews or sometimes just hanging out in the studio with the staff! He would look forward to the week's schedule and plan his days and even requested his medical team adjust his transfusion or treatment timings to make sure to not miss the opportunity of coming down to the studio to participate in a game or hosting it!
RSF: What is your favorite memory? Favorite program?
Sumukh’s Mom: BINGO! We loved playing BINGO at the studio as it was so much fun and Sumukh met so many other patients and child life specialists and made friends! He loved the prizes and always chose multiplayer games or toys which he would play with nurses and other patients on his floor! Our favorite memory was Sumukh hosting Mario Kart themed BINGO. He had so much fun helping prepare the board and hosting the game while dressed as Mario.