December 3rd Iza and Mimi introduced some very special people to their whole kindergarten class. Annalise and Betsy, child life specialists from the hospital came to do a presentation about Leukemia. I have mentioned before Mimi wanted her friends to know what her port is and does. I contacted Child Life, first they spoke to Iza and Mimi asking them what they want to share, also how much I wanted to share. A letter was sent to the parents of their classmates letting them know who was coming and what they will be discussing.
After introductions and some background on what is Leukemia, in kindergarten terms, the kids asked lots of questions. Probably the most exiting part for everyone was Sam. He is a doll with a port, he was quite helpful way back when Mimi got diagnosed both to her and us. He has layers of "skin" as you peel the first layer off you can see a heart with a port that is removable. It shows the what the port looks like under the skin. The girls took him around to all the students and everyone got to feel the squishy part of the port where the needles go. After some more questions from all the kids they were separated into two groups. One group did some medical play by examining Sam, checking his blood pressure, giving him shots, giving him a name tag and so on. All the kids got to wear a mask and pretend they were doctors. The other group made art with things you might find at the hospital, such as band aids, gauze, medical tape and wooden tongue depressors. The kids were very creative with their artwork they just dove right into it and crated some great pieces.
I think everyone benefited form the presentation, all the questions were answered. Mimi is happy that everyone knows now what her port does and why she has it. Iza was a big helper showing Sam, I loved that Betsy and Annalise also mentioned how she is a great sister helping Mimi. I am happy the school was very open about having someone come in and talk. I am so thankful for such a great team of Child Life Specialists at Baystate, they have made some gloomy days a lot brighter, they will all hold a very special place in our hearts forever.
Playing with Sam the doll with the port.
Betsy's group doing some medical play with Sam, the kids were excited about keeping the masks and the name tags they got.
Annalise's group making some great art.