Hospital Treats Parents of Sick Kids to Romantic Valentine's Day Dinner

“This is a brief retreat from everything that’s going on around you," said Ruben Young, whose daughter has sickle cell anemia.

It’s difficult to celebrate the holidays when your kids are sick, but volunteers at Duke Children’s Hospital in North Carolina transformed a playroom into a romantic restaurant to allow parents to have a proper Valentine’s Day.

Tanya and Ruben Young, of Hampton, Va., enjoyed their first date night in months.

“This is a brief retreat from everything that’s going on around you,” Ruben said in an interview with the hospital. “You know you have to go back to it, but those moments add a memory. And when things are bad, you can look back on the memory and say, you know what, we had a good time right here.”

Their 14-year-old daughter, Tatiana, has sickle cell anemia.

She has been in the hospital for the last 100 days after receiving a bone marrow transplant, and both her mom and dad have been at her hospital bedside since.

“My husband made me and her a promise, and the promise was as long as she was in the hospital, he will be here,” Tanya said.

The pair were high school sweethearts, and have been married for more than 30 years.

After raising two biological children, they adopted Tatiana, who had been having trouble since she was born.

Her sickle cell anemia has caused her two strokes.

“The hardest part is seeing her livelihood kind of slow down and then to see her going through the process, some good days some bad days,” Ruben explained. “It really makes you kind of dig deep so that she doesn’t see that when you look at her. You’re kind of frustrated that this is not moving as swiftly as you want to keep her upbeat.”

The Youngs haven’t had a chance to spend time alone. They, and other parents of children recovering from bone marrow transplants or cancer treatments, were able to enjoy a nice Valentine’s Day dinner.

“It’s really an opportunity for them to let down their guard and get to know each other and kind of forget about where they are temporarily,” said hospital rep Tracey Wiwatowski, who organized the event.