Senior year of high school is a turning point in life for many, and this was especially true for Florida resident Isabelle Scott. In her second semester, the singer and harpist was busy planning and traveling to college auditions around the United States.
On January 11, she and her mother traveled out to Spartanburg, South Carolina, for an audition at Converse College. That day she felt tired but the audition went well and she was feeling pretty good overall. The next day, however, was a different story.
Eighteen-year-old Isabelle was starting to develop a fever; this was bad news as she had a vocal competition in Lynchburg, Virginia, the next day. She and her mother stopped at a local clinic where Isabelle was prescribed an antibiotic and told to go see her doctor back home if the fever didn’t go away after a few days.
The fever persisted, so Isabelle’s parents took her to the doctor on January 17, but nobody was available that morning to check her out. The family was advised to take her to the emergency room where they got the first inkling of what was really going on.
“They did a variety of checks and found that her immune system was seriously impaired and checked her into the hospital under neutropenic restrictions for further tests, including a bone marrow biopsy,” Isabelle’s father, Steven Scott, told The Epoch Times via e-mail.
“There was a lot of speculation at this point, but leukemia was only mentioned as a distant possibility.”
Yet, just two days later, that “distant possibility” became Isabelle’s reality as she was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia.
Life on Hold
By this point, Isabelle had only done the one college audition and had several more scheduled, but she had to put everything on hold to start chemotherapy.
“For me, the initial reaction was both being scared and kind of upset that I was having to let go of a lot of these things that I really put myself into,” she told The Epoch Times in a phone interview.
She had her first treatment at St. Vincent’s in Riverside and, while the staff were kind and professional, she felt out of place as the youngest patient in the hospital. For her second treatment, she was transferred to Wolfson Children’s Hospital.
During her second treatment, Isabelle stayed at Wolfson for roughly 22 days before returning home. Then she came back in for a third treatment, which lasted about as long.
This whole time Isabelle kept her harp in her room and continued to practice whenever she could. Many of the staff hadn’t heard anything like this before and, when they weren’t looking after Isabelle directly, found themselves pleasantly caught off-guard.
“I was with a little boy and his mother at the time and he was upset but then we heard music. We looked at the boy and looked at each other and the boy stopped crying,” nurse Christina Bateh told The Epoch Times.
“I was like ‘I wonder what they are playing on the radio? They usually only play music around Christmas.’ So I went up to the front desk to ask what was playing,” she added.
“They told me that the music wasn’t from the radio but from a patient and I thought, ‘Oh! Isabelle!'”
Isabelle has been playing the harp since she was 6 years old and singing for even longer. She is an award-winning musician who takes her craft seriously, a fact which is immediately evident to anyone who listens to her.
When a video of Isabelle at Wolfson was shared on Facebook, it garnered over 30,000 views and 1,600 reactions.
The popularity of the video didn’t quite register with her as it was happening, since she was undergoing treatment at the time, but now she looks back on it proudly, glad that she’s been able to share her music with the world.
“Music is something that I enjoy playing, singing, or listening to,” Isabelle said. “It makes me so happy to know that there is something that I’m good at and can do and it also makes me happy that other people can enjoy that.”
That video was shared on April 11, just before Isabelle’s fourth and final treatment. This was her longest treatment at 40 days in total, but the hospital staff took excellent care of her, giving Isabelle everything she needed.
“They were all wonderful. It was a very great experience because they are all so sympathetic and they really have a heart for children and young people, so they really want to do everything they can to make you feel better,” she said.
Finally, on June 1, Isabelle was discharged from the hospital. She will still have monthly doctor’s appointments for the next year or so to keep an eye on her condition but, beyond that, she is back to leading a happy musical life.
In the fall, she will be double majoring in voice and harp at Converse College in South Carolina, the same school that she auditioned for back in January. The school has arranged to let her take courses online for her first semester, and then she can hopefully attend classes in person by the second term in February.
While she may have had an unexpected hurdle at the beginning of the year, it sounds like Isabelle will be finishing 2018 strong.