Melania Trump paid secret visits to a Washington D.C children’s hospital over three years where she met and kept up a friendship with a teenage cancer patient.
Fighting leukemia from her bed at Children’s National Hospital, Caoilinn Lane met the first lady in 2017 in her hospital bed at Children’s National Hospital.
Melania had quietly visited the hospital to help with preparations for a ‘healing’ garden that was being built for patients and their families. They met again when the first lady returned weeks later to dedicate the rooftop garden.
And the pair saw each other for the first time in three years on Friday when Caoilinn was given the honor of introducing Melania when she returned to the Washington, D.C., hospital to continue the tradition of first ladies reading to patients at holiday time.
Season’s greetings: Melania Trump, 49, visited sick children at the Children’s National Hospital in Washington D.C. on Friday and read them a Christmas book
Leukemia survivor Caoilinn McLane, who has had a secret three year friendship with Melania, watched from the sidelines as the first lady visited with sick kids at Children’s National Hospital
Caoilinn also was given the honor of introducing Melania when she returned to the hospital to continue the tradition of first ladies reading to patients at holiday time
‘I’m glad that we’re here, and I get to see her again’, McLane, now 18, told Associated Press in a brief interview before the event as she sat with her mother, Libby McLane. The family lives in Aldie, Virginia.
Melania helped spread some holiday cheer during her visit with sick children at the hospital, reading to them from a Christmas book.
Instead of wearing red or green, the first lady eschewed traditional Christmas colors and donned a $1,120 turquoise Prada pencil skirt that matched the cover of the children’s book she read, ‘Oliver the Ornament Meets Belle’.
The 49-year-old wore a dark brown turtleneck tucked into the bright skirt and matching brown suede heels, topping off her unconventional holiday look with a thick leather belt that cinched her waist.
Caoilinn watched from the sidelines after introducing her secret White House friend, who had been supportive of her, even when the leukemia survivor suffered a relapse.
The young woman recalled she answered the telephone to find the first lady was on the line.
‘It was so special’, she said. ‘I felt very cared for and it … meant a lot that somebody was thinking about me’.
Melania and Caoilinn McLane are pictured from when the young woman was battling leukemia
A picture of Caoilinn on a GoFundMe page created after her leukemia had returned. Melania stayed in touch as the young lady went to battle her cancer a second time
Caolinn’s mom said the White House had reached out to her a couple of days in advance to set up the call. At the time, mother and daughter were spending a lot of time going back and forth between hospitals in Washington, so the girl could get radiation treatments she needed to get ready for a bone marrow transplant.
‘So when the call was coming, I knew who it was and I let her answer it’, the mother said.
‘I sort of freaked out’, added Caoilinn. The high school senior said her leukemia is in remission following a bone marrow transplant about a year ago.
The first lady’s office confirmed Caoilinn’s account of her interactions with Melania.
The first lady has spent a lot of time visiting children in hospitals around the country, especially those born dependent on opioids. Her concern for Caoilinn fits with her ‘Be Best’ youth initiative and its focus on child well-being.
Caoilinn’s mom said the first lady has also sent messages through Children’s National Hospital.
‘She really is genuine and cares for the kids, and that’s so special’, Libby McLane said.
‘I appreciate her interest in just following along and seeing how Caoilinn’s doing and sending us well wishes’, she said. ‘A lot of times, through the hospital, we’d get a little message that they had spoken to Mrs. Trump and she was asking how Caoilinn’s doing’.
Doing her own thing: Instead of wearing red or green, she sported a brown turtleneck and a turquoise pencil skirt
Intentional? Melania’s skirt matched the cover of the book she read, ‘Oliver the Ornament Meets Belle’
The festive spirit: The first lady looked up and smiled at her audience as she made her way through the children’s book
Jingle bells! Melania waved at the children as she walked out onto the stage alongside the large festive Christmas tree
Melania’s highlighted brown hair was styled in loose waves around her shoulders, during her visit to the hospital, and she wore minimal jewelry aside from her diamond wedding band.
The White House said she toured a short-stay unit and a surgical unit at the hospital and also visited with patients in a playroom, where she helped them make snowflakes.
Afterward, she arrived in the children-filled atrium for the reading holdings hands with patient Declan McCahan, who was dressed in a blazer and bow tie.
She had a bright smile on her face as she took her seat between Declan and another patient, Sammie Burley.
The area was roped off, and a massive Christmas tree stood behind them while Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus sat to her right.
All good! One young boy flashed a thumbs up at the first lady as she went over to introduce herself to him
Saying hello: Another young patient shook Melania’s hand
Special: After the reading, a patient gave Melania a bouquet of flowers wrapped in red and white ribbon, a gift on behalf of Children’s National Hospital
She affectionately put her hand on patient Declan McCahan’s back as she thanked him for the beautiful bouquet of flowers
Bond: While reading the book, Melania looked down at the young boy, who was dressed in a suit jacket and a bow tie
Melania’s visit continues a six-decade tradition in which every first lady since Bess Truman has visited the hospital to meet with children who are too sick to leave for the holidays.
For her second visit as first lady, it seems she may be starting a tradition of her own with her book choice.
‘Oliver the Ornament Meets Belle’ is the second in a seven-book series, and the sequel to the one she read at the hospital last December, ‘Oliver the Ornament’.
After the reading, Declan gave Melania a bouquet of flowers wrapped in red and white ribbon, a gift on behalf of Children’s National Hospital. She affectionately put her hand on the boy’s back as she thanked him for the present.
The first lady went on to greet patients in the audience and was seen shaking hands with the children and giving one little boy a thumbs up.
Ho ho ho! Melania wasn’t the only guest to visit the children; she was also joined by Santa and Mrs. Claus
Fascinated: All of the children, and Mr. and Mrs. Claus, seemed incredibly interested in the story as Melania read on
Glam: The first lady’s long brunette hair was styled in loose waves, and she modeled a pretty pink lip gloss
Giving it her all: Melania was very animated as she read the book for the youngster
Sharing the stage: The mother-of-one listened attentively as she waited to begin reading the book, while perched alongside Sammie Burley (left) and Declan McCahan (right)
It’s been a festive week for Melania, joined her husband, President Donald Trump, at the 2019 National Christmas Tree lighting in Washington on Thursday night.
The first lady, dressed in a $4,900 red and plaid coat by Gabriela Hearst, turned on the lights as the countdown got to one, and the large tree was illuminated with white bursts of light.
Invited guests of the president included just three lawmakers — who happen to be some of his top defenders in the House of Representatives, where he is likely facing an impeachment vote in a matter of weeks.
Republican Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio, Mark Meadows of North Carolina, and John Ratcliffe of Texas were bundled up and seated front row.
During the Obama years, the Tree Lighting was a celebrity-filled spectacle, but like most events of the Trump-era, the talent was lower wattage.
Joining the Trumps this year was host Jessie James Decker, a country singer. There was Colton Dixon, a singer who previously appeared on ‘American Idol,’ as well as Spensha Baker and Cheval Shepherd, who both participated in the competitive TV show ‘The Voice.’
Merry! On Thursday night, Melania lit up the National Christmas Tree in D.C.
Family first: FLOTUS joined her husband on the stage after lighting up the tree
The president uses military musical talent as much as he can, and this year’s Christmas Tree Lighting featured the U.S. Air Force’s Max Impact, which is the Air Force rock band.
Two youth choruses — the Tucson Arizona Boys Chorus and the West Tennessee Youth Chorus — also performed at the event.
The entire show will be broadcast on television on Monday, December 9 at 8 p.m. EST on REELZ channel and 9 p.m. on Ovation, according to a release from the National Park Service.
Thursday’s Tree Lighting marked the 96th year a president participated.
It was started in 1923 when President Calvin Coolidge lit a Christmas tree on Christmas Eve on the Ellipse, the site where the National Christmas Tree grows today.
Unlike the Capitol Christmas tree, the National Christmas tree is planted in its spot and not brought in from out of town.