Down Home LA: The Hodgkin's Sisters

Savannah Ducote and Jamie McLarty
By  | 

WINNFIELD, La. (KALB) - Savannah Ducote’s parents never knew their daughter was the fighter she turned out to be.

Last year, the teenager went to Rapides Regional Medical Center for stomach pains. Hours and countless tests later, she heard the news that would change her life in an instant.
She was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

Soon after, she knew every time someone cut their lawn on the drive to Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans for treatment. Her family drove there from Avoyelles Parish nearly every day, adding more than 18,000 miles to their car in the process.

“I felt like it was almost worse to get negative,” said Ducote who, at just 16 years old, could write a book on optimism. “Positivity is the strongest medicine you can have.”

You wouldn’t wish cancer on anyone, but a wish changed her life a second time.

After being nominated by her doctor for the Make A Wish program, Savannah got to know her “wish come true” by meeting Jamie McLarty.

McLarty had been serving as a “Wish Coach” for the volunteer organization for less than a year when she met Savannah and was overcome with déjà vu.

“It was like staring at my medical report all over again,” said McLarty who realized fate had led her to this moment.

Both girls were diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

At the same age.

On a Thursday.

Were treated at Ochsner.

Made the drive to New Orleans nearly every day.

25 years apart.

Now, rather than looking at a mirror, Ducote could look through time and have every question she wanted to know answered by someone who had been through everything she’s experienced before.

“I’m an English teacher. I make my living by coming up with words and sentences to describe feelings,” said McLarty. “I don’t know if I could come up with words to describe what that moment felt like and what our relationship is today.”

Now, they might not be related, but don’t argue they are not family…

Savannah Ducote said it best - “she’s my Hodgkin’s sister.”