Note: This blog post was written by Emily, one of our young adult Dragonflies!!
We are grateful to Speedway Children’s Charities, the MH Foundation, the Stroud Foundation, and all the supporters who make our New Diagnosis/Extended Stay Care Package Program possible!
“It was a wonderful blessing. No one wants to leave their sick child. It showed that someone knew exactly what I needed. It was like getting a bag full of love. Thank you!”
The above quote was said by a Dragonfly mom in reference to The Dragonfly Foundation’s New Diagnosis/Extended Stay Care Packages (a.k.a. Big Blue Bags) that families receive on their first arrival to the oncology/hematology floor of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, or if they have been readmitted for unexpected stay that will be for more than two weeks. The Dragonfly Foundation brings comfort and joy to the lives of cancer and bone marrow transplant patients (and their families) of Children’s Hospital. Each bag contains more than $150 worth of items, including: toiletries, laundry detergent and dryer sheets, in-room meal cards that can be used by caregivers, and so much more. The items are things that many caregivers forget to pack in their haste or haze of treatment. The Big Blue Bag is an invaluable offering that saves trips to the store, but most importantly, that brings a smile and warmth to the hearts of families who have been given devastating news.
My family and I have personal experience with the Dragonfly Foundation, so I write for more than just my fellow Dragonflies; I write for my family. Anytime the big C is mentioned, fear immediately sets in and the world seems to stop turning. It happened for us about four and a half years ago when my older sister was diagnosed with osteosarcoma of the left knee that metasticized into her lungs. (She is actually among the organization’s very first Dragonflies.) I cannot say enough kind words about the love and support we were given by this foundation.
Unfortunately, just when we thought we could stop worrying about cancer for a while, since my sister’s five-year mark was coming up, life tossed another hurtle in our path. About 6 months ago the doctors told me that I have stage IV A Hodgkin’s lymphoma. I felt my life hit the brakes so fast I could have gotten whiplash! Yet again, we had to return to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital for me to be treated, but something was waiting for me after my first day there.
There it was; my very own Big Blue Bag! I cried happy tears over the kindness shown to us and smiled so big my cheeks hurt. People really cannot say enough nice words about these bags and what they mean to the patients and families that receive them.
Recently, a parent described feeling like she was in a fog after her child’s diagnosis. She said it was wonderful to know someone else was be able to think clearly for her and helped to make sure she did have access to something as simple and as important as a toothbrush. My mom actually did forget my toothbrush one time, but because of the Big Blue Bag, we had a spare one for me to use. I had one of the Dragonfly moms also say how fantastic it was to have one of these bags delivered to them at the hospital because it is not easy to leave your child alone in their room while you, as a parent, ran out to buy the forgotten items. Parents/caregivers do not like to leave their loved ones, especially a young patient; they would much prefer to stay near to give comfort and to be there in case they are needed. The Dragonfly Foundation more than understands these feelings
While the bags give comfort to families in the hospital, the fact that they also save families money makes us more than grateful to the generous donors who support The Dragonfly Foundation. Money is extremely tight when a loved one is battling cancer, and often times, one or both of the parents can’t work because they need to take care of their young patient.
The Big Blue Bags are priceless to Dragonfly families because they allow us to have a small slice of peace when life has become chaotic. Ask anyone who has received one of these bags and all you’ll hear is how wonderful and lifesaving they are to families. Dragonfly takes care of their other fellow dragonflies, and the Big Blue Bags are merely one small way they make a huge impact. We dragonflies are incredibly grateful for the Big Blue Bags simply because they provide the little things and a moment of kinds, which sometimes can mean the most in life.