Seven-year-old Ario is a superhero to the staff of Mass General’s Francis H. Burr Proton Therapy Center. When he arrived to begin treatment for his brain tumor, Ario announced that he did not want to sleep and did not want needles. Anesthesia is typically used to relax pediatric patients undergoing proton therapy. The staff worked together to help Ario achieve his goal of anesthesia-free treatment.
Two weeks into therapy, they asked him if he would like to teach other children how to have treatments without sedation. He gladly agreed to their proposal. While two six-year-olds and their parents watched, Ario cheerfully entered the treatment room and went through the steps of getting into position for treatment. He then accompanied each child into the room for a practice session. A staff member held him up so that he could see the child’s face and offer encouragement.
Both children did well and received treatment without anesthesia. One of Ario’s protégées then trained a six-year-old girl to have sedative-free treatment. Now she is teaching another patient.
With his kindness, happy spirit and knack for teaching, Ario has helped other children avoid side effects of anesthesia and gain self-esteem and courage at a challenging time.