Friendships that bloom during difficult times are extra special. That’s what grew between 3-year-olds Mack Porter and Payson Altice while receiving treatment and battled cancer at Phoenix Children’s Hospital.
The pair became fast friends while battling cancer together at the Arizona hospital. Thankfully, both have gone into remission and were sent home earlier this summer.
While this was great news, it carried a downside—the friends won’t see each other as often anymore.
Mack and Altice live in towns 30 minutes away from one another, so meeting up wasn’t that easy. After spending two months apart, they began missing each other very much.
“Every morning, his first question was,’ When can I play with Payson?’” Mack’s mom, Dani Porter, told TODAY Parents.
Last month, the day they’ve been waiting for finally came. On July 21, the two kids were reunited, and the tear-jerking moment was captured on video.
In the clip, Mack is shown handing over a bouquet of flowers to Payson. Knowing that he chose it himself makes the act even sweeter! The adorable duo then hugs and dances in Payson’s kitchen.
“That was a blessing to just watch our children be children,” Dani told World News Tonight.
Before visiting Payson, Mack spent the morning preparing for the playdate and picking out toys he thought his best friend would love.
Payson was diagnosed with B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia weeks after her third birthday in September 2020, and Mack was diagnosed with anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) in January. Fortunately, both have gone into remission and will start preschool in the fall.
They first met each other earlier this year after Dani saw a “spunky” little girl walking down the hall with giant mylar balloons.
Dani knew there and then that Mack would like the little girl. Trusting in her intuition, she later approached Payson’s mom, Traci Barrett, and asked if her daughter would be interested in taking a walk with Mack.
The hospital had been lonelier since the pandemic started because the playroom and family room were closed.
“Payson was so isolated. It was so hard to meet people because of the pandemic. She was asking for new toys every five minutes,” Traci said. “And then Mack came along.”
The two instantly clicked when they met and bonded over their shared love of “Peppa Pig.” Payson introduced Mack to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and the boy taught Payson some cool dance moves his older sisters had taught him.
Mack’s dad, Ty Porter, said that the kids related to each other in a way that nobody else can.
“They know what each other are going through, like, they know the heart,” he said. “Where we can all guess and we can all understand it to a bit, but they know 3-year-old pediatric cancer.”
With IV lines attached to their bodies, the two children have fun in their own little world. In each other’s company, they were able to find reprieve from the terrible disease they’re battling.
“Traci and I were both teary watching them just be kids,” Dani said. “As soon as Mack got up from his nap he was like, ‘I need to find Payson and bring her a present.’”
Mack and Payson went swimming together last week. They also regularly FaceTime and send each other funny clips.
“It’s just a really special relationship,” Dani said.
These two kids really set an example of how to get through tough times. They battled cancer and won!
“During these scary and hard times, no matter what, just look to the children because they’ll lead the way,” Traci said.
Seeing Mack and Payson’s bond also gave Dani a new perspective on life.
“The human experience has so many hard things and it can be so much better if we’re just good to each other,” she said.
See Mack and Payson’s heartwarming reunion in the video below.
Here’s how you can help these two wonderful young humans:
To support Payson’s fight against cancer: https://gfme.co/payson
To support Mack’s fight against cancer: https://gfme.co/mackystrong