A Letter From Our Founder
Life as my family knew it changed forever the moment we heard the doctor say, “Your son has Leukemia.” In that instant, we were yanked out of the comfortable, predictable world we knew, and flung into a panic-filled world of uncertainty and fear as our son began to fight for his life. A day earlier I had worried about how my son would do on his English test. Now I paced, wondering about the results of his heart and kidney function tests. Yesterday I half-listened to him lobbying for an iPod. Today I hung on every word the nurse said as she explained how to sterilize the central line the surgeon had just inserted in his chest. Keywords from yesterday: School drop-off, work, school pick-up, dinner. Keywords from today: Blood transfusions, bone marrow aspirations, spinal taps, neutropenia.
I am thrilled to tell you that my son successfully completed his treatment and is now a healthy, active teenager. Life is “back to normal.” Well, sort of. There’s not a day that goes by when I don’t remember what it was like to be in the hospital with a critically ill child, 24/7 for days and weeks at a time. It is a relentlessly grueling existence for anyone, particularly a young person who is not only suddenly critically ill, but who has had every comfort of home and familiar routine taken away. Throughout the course of my son’s treatment, I saw many children whose parents had to work in order to maintain insurance benefits and weren’t able to be with them much of the time. I found that in many cases, the strain of having a sick child had completely tapped the family’s resources, leaving them nothing extra to spend on things to help pass the time for their hospitalized child. It is extremely difficult for both parents and children to meet the daily challenges that cancer treatment brings. As a person who’s been there, I can tell you that having a strong support system makes an immeasurable difference in the treatment process.
“The Bottomless Toy Chest” is here to be part of that support system. My dream is that every child hospitalized with cancer will be able to look forward to frequent packages filled with fun, creativity, and love; gifts that ultimately will help give them the miracle of courage and strength to fight back. On behalf of the brave children we serve, thank you for your support.