Dr. William Tse said he was “honored” by the costume.
Many 2-year-old boys want to dress up as Superman or Spiderman for Halloween, but Jonah Bump decided to dress up as a different type of superhero – his doctor.
Jonah was diagnosed with a rare immune deficiency disorder, severe combined immunodeficiency disease, when he was very young. Because of this, Dr. William Tse, the director of pediatric stem cell transplantation at Norton Children’s Cancer Institute in Louisville, Kentucky, performed a stem cell transplant on Jonah when he was just 7 months old.
Because he did not have a functioning immune system, Jonah needed to be isolated in a room at the hospital. His mother, Laurie Bump, says for the most part Tse and hospital staff were the only people they were allowed to see.
“The doctors and nurses became like extended family to us,” Bump said. “Dr. Tse went out of his way to do things for me just out of kindness. Our family has a soft spot for Dr. Tse because of everything he’s done for us and the way he cares about Jonah and our family.”
Dr. Tse says Jonah was one of his very first patients when he started working at the hospital in Louisville two and a half years ago. After Jonah’s surgery, he continues to see the toddler every three to six months to check up on him.
“Every time I see him I’m amazed by well he’s doing,” Tse said. “I feel proud. I feel happy and grateful that together (with his family) we can help Jonah to become a healthy child.”
Bump says she recently bought her son a doctor kit to play with, and when Halloween came around, she thought it’d be the perfect idea to have her son dress up as someone who means so much to their family.
“It seemed like a good fit,” Bump said. “Everyone in our family has been Jonah’s patient and because of what Dr. Tse means to us we decided to combine the two.”
Bump dressed up Jonah exactly like Tse, including a white coat and Tse’s signature blue Oxford shirt he wears underneath the coat. They even replicated Tse’s hospital name tag to say “Tse Jr.”
When the costume was complete, she texted the picture to one of Tse’s transplant nurses and asked her to relay it to him. When Tse saw it, he said he was honored.
“He was like a mini-me,” Tse said. “I was touched. I was so surprised and I didn’t expect it. The costume looked like me down to the very last detail.”
Tse jokes that in 20 years he hopes Jonah might be able to become a real doctor just like him, but for now he is touched that he could play.
“To be a pediatrician is really a privilege that we can really make an impact on a sick child’s life,” Tse says.