In 2016, Laila Charleston began experiencing recurring headaches, which quickly intensified, and ultimately brought her to an ophthalmologist for further consultation. There, an MRI would confirm that Laila had a germinoma, a type of germ cell tumor, located on her pituitary gland. Laila immediately began radiation at Levine Children’s Hospital and, after a challenging road to recovery, finished her treatment in February of 2017.

This July, Laila made her first delivery to Levine Children’s Hospital and Levine Cancer Institute’s Adolescent and Young Adult Survivorship clinic.

When given a second chance at a healthy childhood, Laila, now 13 years old, found a special form of healing in helping kids and teens fighting the disease. Inspired by her own journey at Levine Children’s Hospital, the entrepreneurial teen has since created her own personal brand, called Poppin’ Curls, to bring comfort to children and adolescents being treated for cancer at Levine Children’s and Levine Cancer Institute. Having experienced first-hand the side effects of cancer treatment, which impacted her skin, hair, and general quality of life, Laila created her own brand of specialized hair oils, lip balm, and personal care packages, to ensure young cancer patients and survivors receive the same nourishment and support she herself needed during her own cancer journey.  

Today, Laila is not only the champion of her cancer journey, having overcome the disease and healed from her experience, she is also a newly celebrated member of the Atrium Health Young Ambassadors, a group of children and teens honored for their contributions and service in support of Atrium Health patients.