On Thursday evening, some friends of mine were asking about Chemo Gifts and how this whole thing works. They wondered how they could be more involved. I told them of having distributed most of the bags of encouraging quotes and the cotton gloves to the chemo treatment centers where my wife had been.
When it came to how they could help, I mentioned that life has a way of producing opportunities. I’ve had some friends over the last month who have friends of theirs or family members with cancer. And so I reach out and provide them with these Chemo Gifts as well. I said I’d continue to do that as needs arise but we all agreed we’d be on the lookout for other ways we could each use our own interests and talents to help those around us.
Then, two days later, out of the blue I get this email from an old college friend of mine, Carole:
“Well, I launched a kickstarter this week to help fund a project that is near and dear to my heart. I left teaching to care for a former little preschool student of mine that got diagnosed with leukemia. As we stepped onto this journey together, her single mom wondered what was out there to help make so much of the scary business of getting her daughter Eva healthy again a little less scary. She came up empty handed. She wanted a story about dealing with hair loss and couldn’t find one. So, I wrote one. Now we have a brilliant illustrator burning the midnight oil to finish the illustrations. That is what the kickstarter is for. If we go over our goal, we can print the first run of this story and hand them to the kids affected by cancer treatment for free. It is our promise to give these to families at no cost ever to them.”
Here’s the Kickstarter link if you’d like to help out. Even if you don’t want to donate, check out the video about Carole’s story regarding Eva and the hair fairies:
The wonder of this is not just the timing, but how Carole is doing exactly what we were discussing: using her creative abilities to do something meaningful and useful for someone else.
Losing hair due to chemo seems, if you haven’t been through it, like a minor issue. After all, you’re battling for your life. Why worry about superficials like your hair? Except it isn’t just superficial. Your hair is part of you. Part of your identity. And to have it gone almost overnight can be devastating. Plus it signals to the world that you have cancer: It’s the first visual cue to others of your disease. And for both adults and little kids losing your hair can be scary, like an amputation, a part of yourself now detached.
We can explain the scientific reasons for losing your hair to chemo, but more comforting — more helpful — is the power of story. That’s what Carole has done. And as a result of her using a passion for writing for a little girl in need, she not only is touching the lives of Eva and her mother, but all the others who are now involved in this project.
That’s how it works.