Of course, these children deserve such attention, as they face unimaginable stress and challenges, so childhood cancer charities do what we can to lessen their burdens. I have seen amazing work done by countless charities to keep the innocence and fun in a childhood that cancer relentlessly attempts to steal. And every single one of us who works in this community is better for it. This work is the proof of the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi:
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive
In December, Kyle's Kamp was able to help cancer patients experience the truth of St. Francis's prayer. We opened a "Holiday Store" at the Children's Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders of Northern Virginia. A section of the clinic's waiting room was decorated like a Winter Wonderland with glittering snowflakes hung from the ceiling and colorful holiday scenes painted on the windows. Thanks to generous donations from countless individuals and organizations including Smashing Walnuts and Stillbrave, the shop was overflowing with gifts for any and everyone - toddlers, teens, moms and dads.
The Kyle's Kamp Holiday Store allowed children coming to the clinic for treatment to "shop" (free of charge) for their moms, dads and siblings. After the children chose the perfect gift for each member of his or her family, volunteers wrapped the presents for them. And, of course, we let them choose a little something for themselves! The children then left the clinic after their appointments, arms full of brightly colored packages, to surprise their families with the gifts they had picked out all on their own. Children who did not have appointments scheduled that week were able to stop by the Kyle's Kamp office the following weekend to shop for their families.
Yes, these children receive a lot of attention, a lot of focus. And they deserve it. They also deserve to be the givers. Each child chose each gift with a lot of thought and a lot of love. They felt proud of the gifts they could place under their tree for the family members who love them so well.
For it is in giving that we receive. Yes, indeed, it is.