20 Jul What Kids with Cancer Want You to Know
Two days ago, we delivered our very first Forever We dolls to two little girls battling cancer at Egleston Children’s Hospital in Atlanta. I knew the experience would be a memorable one for us. We’ve been looking forward to this day since October, so I’m not exaggerating when I tell you it was a BIG day. It’s funny how you think you’ll remember the big things–walking in to the room to meet the girls, watching them unwrap the dolls from their packaging, hugging them close, and of course watching them interact with the Forever We ambassadors–girls just like them who don’t have cancer but want to do something meaningful by sharing their lives with kids that do.
I do remember those things, but more importantly I treasure one particular conversation. I asked ME what she wished kids without cancer knew about kids who are battling cancer. What would she tell them if she could tell them anything about her experience so far?
Her answer tore my heart in two.
“It’s hard,” she said. “It’s so hard. I just wish they knew how hard it is.”
I stole a sideways glance at her parents, and saw them blinking back their tears.
I’m sure there are things they remember about this journey, too. Certainly the days each of their precious children were diagnosed were big days. The first day of chemotherapy was a big day. The days they shaved their heads were big days. But I bet if I sat down with them, they wouldn’t tell me the stories of those days. They would tell me about how two sisters curled up in bed together for a sleepover at the hospital or about the note that one little boy wrote to a girl he loves when he stood outside her door and heard her crying: “I wish it were me instead of you,” he said. They would show me their Beads of Courage and tell me what each bead means.
You see, in the hours before we arrived, ME’s nurses were working to insert an NG tube. NG is short for naso-gastric. It’s a tube that is passed through the nose and down through the nasopharynx and esophagus into the stomach. It’s thin and flexible and can be used to remove the contents of the stomach, to decompress the stomach, or to remove small solid objects and fluid, such as poison, from the stomach. An NG tube can also be used to place nutrients directly into the stomach when a patient cannot take food or drink by mouth. Sounds fun, right?
ME is a teeny, tiny girl, and her NG tube will help her get the nutrients she needs to stay healthy. But as good as it might be to have the tube, getting the tube is no fun at all. After hours of pleading and many, many tears, ME finally put it in ALL BY HERSELF in the minutes just before we arrived.
We stood in the presence of greatness and she took the form of an eleven year old girl. I thought to myself, “This is what courage looks like.” Real courage. It’s not just about being brave–which is simply acting even when we’re afraid. Courage comes from the latin word “Coeur” and it literally means to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart.”
That’s why we created Forever We. We wanted to give people a tangible way to tell the story of who they are with their whole heart. ME and Esme and all the rest of the kids at Egleston will tell the story of their cancer for the rest of their lives. It will be with them forever. We’ve seen their battle scars! But this is the thing–the cancer doesn’t have to be the star of this story. It doesn’t have to define them. It’s a means for helping them tell their story–the story of who they are–one tiny act of bravery at a time.
To learn more about Forever We or to be notified when our dolls are available for purchase, please use the contact form on this web page. We’d love to hear from you!