September 5, 2013

A Superhero Bag for an Heroic Little Boy

Cancer is such a scary word. It is so sad to hear of an adult with cancer, but to hear that a child has cancer is something that I find devestating. I had a very dear friend call me just over two and a half weeks ago, and I wasn't expecting to hear her teary on the other end of the phone, and to hear her speak the words "Ethan has cancer." My mind had trouble making sense of it all as she told me. I am sure I was silent on the other end of the phone while I was trying to process it, and she kept talking, explaining it all to me. 

Ethan is her delightful little five year old. He is just a few months older than Connor, and I have known him since he was a newborn. I knew some of his behaviour and other small things had been niggling away at her for a little while, but it was all normal 5 year old stuff, and to hear that he had cancer was the cause of it all was heartbreaking.
 I took my boys to visit Ethan the next day in hospital - he was having lots of different tests done to figure out the extent of the cancer, and was bored silly. It was nice to watch him playing with my boys, but I came home sad, knowing that there was a very long road ahead of this lovely little family, and was wondering what I could do to help.
 I noticed at the hospital that things had been packed into enviro shopping bags - they had been packed in a hurry after the GP broke the news to them and told them to go straight to hospital. But it made me wonder if Ethan actually had a bag other than a backback and a schoolbag that was light enough for him to carry. It really isn't that useful compared to many other things, but I really wanted to make Ethan something to let him know (or at least his mum know) how much we cared. I started sorting through my fabrics and found this superhero fabric that I have ordered ages ago to make the boys pyjamas. I cut into it and used my spare time over the next few days to make this bag for Ethan. I have enough fabric left over to make him some superhero pyjama shorts in another month or so, when the weather is warmer and he is in need to things that fit - I'm expecting him to lose another couple of kilos over the next little while as the side effects of chemo take their toll.

 It is another Gingercake duffle bag. I first reviewed the bag over here. I do love this pattern and the bags are such a good size that I knew it would be useful to have for the many day stays and overnight stays in hospital that this little guy has ahead of him. These bags are pretty straightforward to sew, but I have found with bags that they can't be rushed. You have to just take your time and be sure to sew all the seams carefully. And interface. You can't forget the interfacing.

 Ethan won't realise it because he is only 5, but to me he is a hero - even more so than these superheros that adorn his bag. And on the days when he isn't feeling quite so super, I hope that they can give him a bit of extra strength and energy to keep fighting.

 I had enough Paris fabric left over to make another Paris duffle for his mum, for all her overnight and day stays with him.

 I know if anyone can get their child through cancer, it is her. She is such a good person and anyone who has her as a friend is lucky. She has been there for me over the years whenever I have needed her like no other friend, and not just for me, but for lots of her other friends, and I hope everyone will be there for her over the next couple of years because so much of this cancer burden falls directly on her shoulders. So on the days when she is weary, and has her children scattered everywhere while she is at another hospital apppointment with Ethan, and is wondering how she can make it home in time to sort her other kids out, or what she can pull together for dinner, or when she can possibly squeeze in some time to grocery shop, or reorganise the playroom or all those one million other tiny things that a mother has to get done, I hope when she looks at her bag, that she will remember that she has people she can call on anytime for anything. Goodluck with the fight against cancer Howes family. I know you'll win and that that precious little boy of yours is in the hearts, thoughts and prayers of many.


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