Mikaylas Card Shop

The door has a brightly colored sign that catches the attention of those who pass by. Hand-cut, with child's writing, it simply reads Mikayla's Card Shop – Open. The sign reads "closed" on days when she's resting or when she's not feeling well. Mikayla Coenen is a 7 year-old girl attending the 2nd grade at Dakota Prairie School near Warwick N.D. (west of Devils Lake). Mikayla has leukemia. The sign hangs on the door to her room at MeritCare Children's Hospital in Fargo.

The door has a brightly colored sign that catches the attention of those who pass by. Hand-cut, with child's writing, it simply reads Mikayla's Card Shop – Open. The sign reads "closed" on days when she's resting or when she's not feeling well. Mikayla Coenen is a 7 year-old girl attending the 2nd grade at Dakota Prairie School near Warwick N.D. (west of Devils Lake). Mikayla has leukemia. The sign hangs on the door to her room at MeritCare Children's Hospital in Fargo.

Today is her second day back at Children's Hospital where she's undergoing her fourth round of intensive chemotherapy. Her mom, Linda, says she was a sick little girl a few months ago but these days she's doing well, and is tolerating chemotherapy. Best of all, her doctors are optimistic about her recovery. That makes folks around the card shop pretty happy.

The idea to open a card shop came after Mikayla created a thank-you card for one of her nurses. At first it was just something to help pass the time, but soon a few orders were coming in and supplies were being donated including a card-making kit from her nurses and a scissors collection that would make most budding artists squeal with delight. When asked why she wanted to make cards, Mikayla simply said, "Someone might need them, maybe parents with kids in the hospital."

So, from her hospital bed with construction paper, stickers, ribbon, glue and warm words of encouragement for a happy graduation, birthday or just because, Mikayla sets about her task. Her mother helps keep track of orders in a little blue day planner and her faithful companion, SpongeBob SquarePants rests next to her in bed. When asked about her buddy SpongeBob she briefly breaks into Mr. SquarePant's signature song. Clearly her spirit is strong and the Card Shop will soon be moving out of the hospital for good thanks to the advanced level of cancer care for kids available at MeritCare Children's Hospital.

Recently renovated and expanded the Children's Hospital is a special place just for sick or injured kids built entirely on donations to MeritCare Foundation. Mikayla's room was built with donations from Cully's Kids, started by Matt Cullen, NHL Hockey Player and Moorhead native. The room has a special air handling system to help keep air fresh from germs that might attack a cancer patient's weak immune system. Mikayla's doctor, Nathan Kobrinsky, M.D., pediatric oncology/hematology, is one of the only board-certified pediatric oncologists in the region, enabling Mikayla to get a high level of cancer care close to home.

Speaking of home, Mikayla's looking forward to getting back home in a couple weeks to enjoy the summer on her family's farm with her brothers, sister and their cats, sheep, donkeys – and a llama named Dolly. But ultimately, Mikayla is looking forward to going back to school where she enjoys music and kick-ball in gym class, but best of all, math speed games on the computer.

For more information about MeritCare Children's Hospital, visit children.meritcare.com.