Have you ever met a child who didn’t want to have fun? It’s a known fact that kids like to run around, play games, wrestle, dress up, and be with other kids having a good time. But what if those kids are young adults and you are a 5-year-old with cancer?
That was the scene yesterday at The Melodies Center’s clinic at Albany Med. Five young adults, Emily, Alyssia, Brandon, Sarah, and Becca from Nick’s Round Table visited children while they waited for their blood work or to get treatment. Sweet Chloe, only three years old was very shy, but soon sidled up next to Emily, who helped her color some wooden dolls and decorate them with glitter and jewels. Sarah and Becca met Piper who they had given a comfort bag to and they gave her a craft to do when she felt like it. Brandon played some video games with a boy, which is a fantastic distraction.
Then there was Joshua. He flew into the clinic playroom like a boy on a mission. He’s five years old and usually plays video games when he arrives, his mom said. But this time he saw five big kids sitting around a table with various arts and crafts. Joshua picked a model car and Alyssia quickly set him up. Joshua painted the car a brilliant blue, mixed with some yellow. Then he made a necklace. When the nurse called him to get his vitals, Joshua sprinted out of the room and rushed back when he was done. He was having fun with these kids and didn’t want to miss a minute.
Healing Kids by Having Fun. This concept is not an advanced medical breakthrough or a new chemo drug that will attack a specific cancer. It’s basic human interaction. It’s about giving these children something to look forward to–a distraction from the poking and prodding that has taken over their lives. When you are having fun, you aren’t thinking about cancer and how it has changed your life.
It also opened the young adults’ eyes. Each one there lost a close friend to cancer. They have experienced the pain and grief. Now they see how bringing some fun and laughter to a child can help them heal or get them through a particularly difficult day. It makes a difference and I’m amazed that they put themselves out there every day.
Sometimes it takes a miracle to save a child’s life. Sometimes it’s laughter with just the right amount of fun.
Special shout out to Zach! It was wonderful seeing you and your mom and to Parker and his mom from Saratoga who I had the pleasure of meeting yesterday.
Keep Fighting and may laughter and fun get you through each day.