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2-Year-Old Cancer Patient Misses Birthday At Home Due To Downtown Looting

Two-year-old Owen Buell and his family have been staying at the Ronald McDonald House near Lurie Children’s Hospital while he receives treatment for Stage 4 neuroblastoma.

They were supposed to go home to Joliet to celebrate his birthday.

“We were going to have cake and ice cream and do some presents at home with his siblings and his grandma,” said Owen’s mother, Valerie Mitchell.

But looting throughout downtown Chicago made it impossible.

“We got a phone call from the nurse saying that none of the nurses could make it in for safety concerns and they didn’t want any families in the middle of that trying to walk into Lurie’s,” Mitchell said.

The Ronald McDonald House was one of several locations hit early Monday morning.

“The whole door was shattered and it looked like a bullet hole, so I started freaking out thinking about how unsafe that was. You shouldn’t feel that way when your kid needs medical care. You shouldn’t be afraid to walk a few blocks down the street,” she said.

Owen Buell

Mitchell said the recent looting on top of a global pandemic only compounds the stress of her son’s diagnosis.

“I ask myself why can he not just have cancer? Why does there have to be coronavirus with it? Why is there all this protesting? I just feel like a lot of this stuff really makes it worse for him and our family. If he was going through treatment a year ago his siblings would be able to come here,” Mitchell said.

Owen’s family hopes to go home in the next day or two before they return for another round of treatment next month.