When 3-year-old Mack Porter finished his cancer treatments at Phoenix Children's Hospital, all he wanted was to go back to the “doctor house” to see his best friend, Payson, who's also 3.
“Every morning, his first question was, ’When can I play with Payson?’” mom Dani Porter told TODAY Parents.
Last month, the day finally arrived. Mack and Payson Altice, who both are in remission, were reunited — and the joyful moment was captured on camera.
In the tearjerker video that was featured on TODAY’s Morning Boost, Mack is shown presenting Payson, 3, with a bouquet of flowers that he chose himself. The duo then hug and dance together in Payson’s kitchen.
Mack spent the morning setting up for the play date and picking out toys he thought Payson would love.
Mack, who was diagnosed with anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) in January, is now in remission. Payson, who was battling B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, is also in remission. They will both start preschool in the fall.
The duo first connected earlier this year in the hospital, after Porter noticed a “spunky” little girl parading down the hall with giant mylar balloons.
“I just knew Mack would like her,” Porter recalled. Later that day, Porter approached Payson’s mom, Traci Barrett, to see if they would be interested in taking a walk.
“The playroom and the family room were closed because of COVID,” Porter explained.
Barrett, a hair stylist, can’t talk about the friendship without crying.
“Payson was so isolated. It was so hard to meet people because of the pandemic. She was asking for new toys every five minutes," Barrett told TODAY Parents. “And then Mack came along.”
With IV lines attached to their bodies, the children bonded over their love of Peppa Pig. Payson introduced Mack to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Mack taught Payson some cool dance moves he’d learned from his older sisters.
“Traci and I were both teary watching them just be kids,” Porter 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, who live 30 minutes away from each other in Arizona, went swimming together last week. They also regularly send each other funny videos.
“It’s just a really special relationship,” Porter said.
Added Barrett, "It's indescribable."