On Tuesday 15th May, Team LFCT and Friend and Supporter Charlene Elliot took the opportunity to make the Onco Mommies at Tygerberg Hospital G3 Paediatric Oncology Ward feel a little bit spoiled by organising some lovely presents and snacks for them.
These mommies go through such a hard time, some of them spending months at the hospital while their child is undergoing treatment – most often without any friends or family to support them through what must be one of the most terrifying times any mother could ever have to endure.
It was lovely to see the mommies just sit down and relax for a bit, to have a bite to eat and talk and laugh a little.
The ladies thoroughly enjoyed all the treats and as we always take more than is needed, plates were piled high to take back to the wards to eat later 😀
Each Mother received a lovely Mother’s Day Bag filled with goodies such as facecloths, toothbrushes, cream, bonbons, a chocolate, and loads more, and each of them also received a snack-pack for their child containing some sweets, chips, a toy, and a gender/age-specific colouring-in book and crayons.
We shared a bit about what LFCT does and how we could help them and made sure that every one of them had a business card (each Mother’s Day Gift Bag also contained an informative pamphlet) and knew how to contact us so that we could register them with LFCT – and many of them already have.
The mommies, in turn, shared a bit about their journey, about their fears and about some of the hardships that they are faced with – one lady is all the way from van Rhynsdorp and was brought straight to Tygerberg from the Vredendal Hospital without being able to even go home to get clothes or anything (as so often happens) and another was there from Klawer and has been staying at the hospital for the past 6 months already with no end in sight….
Some of the mommies had been there for months with their babies, others were fairly newly arrived, others were there for the umpteenth time, and yet others were just at the Day Clinic for a check-up.
One of the mommies left the gathering quite early on ( mommies were coming in and out for a few hours as they could) as her child was there for his first lumbar puncture and one could see the fear in her eyes as she left for this appointment….
As it was the first time that each of us (Team LFCT 2018) had actually been to the oncology wards, it was quite an eye-opener:
Charlene Elliot said that the visit was a total eye-opener for her and has made her even more determined to do more with and for the Little Fighters and their Families and is definitely on the invitation list to join us in future outreaches. Being a mother herself, she was instinctively drawn to the children and one beautiful little baby especially was just so happy to get snuggled in her arms and be given some love while mommy took a quick well-earned and much-needed break to sit and have a quick snack and chat.
Lizelma Olivier, LFCT’s new Programme Manager, wrote on her Facebook Page:
“Hulle het nes “ons” drome vir hul kids en is nes “ons” ongelooflik lief en trots op hul kinders. Die verskil is egter dat hierdie ma’s se oe vol onsekerheid en vrees is en hul kids se “ou siel” oe my altyd sal bybly… ”
(They too, just like us, have dreams for their children and are unbelievably proud of and love their children. The difference though is that these mothers’ eyes are full of fear and uncertainty and their children’s “old soul” eyes will forever haunt me…)
For me, it was great to talk to and listen to the mommies as they spoke about their children, their cancer, and the good and the bad of their journeys…
What touched me the most though was one mommy in particular who I could see was in SUCH pain… one could see that she did want to be there but also didn’t… when I spoke to her and tried to find out more about her child (little boy) and what cancer he had she just cracked up and left the room in tears and I felt absolutely awful….
Fortunately she came back a bit later, with her son on her back, and I had the opportunity to speak to her one-on-one again and she told me that she understood everything but as her son was still son newly diagnosed, it was still very difficult for her to accept and understand why!!!
The other ladies told me that they had tried to talk to her but she didn’t really talk much and I explained to them that they need to just give her time and let her start talking when she was ready. We chatted a bit more and I could feel her relaxing a bit and coming to the understanding that her child’s cancer was not her fault, and that it would help her to share with her “other family” (the other onco moms). Just before she went back to the ward she gave me THE MOST BEAUTIFUL, BIGGEST smile ever!!!!
As much as I love and hate (#CancerSUX) what I do, and love doing whatever I can for all our Little Fighters and their Families, THAT experience will always stay with me – and the fact that I could make such a difference in just ONE mommy’s day/life yesterday merely by giving some of my time and compassion, means EVERYTHING!!!
This is why we do what we do and why we need YOU to help us do that by donating goods and donating financially, so that we can stop spending so much time on begging for donations and spend more time on PEOPLE!
Lizelma, being a typical Social Worker, stuck her nose in everywhere and spoke to everyone, and is already on the move to sort out clothing etc for our Mommy from Vredendal/ van Rhynsdorp and will also be visiting the hospital more often and forging close bonds with the nursing staff, social worker and doctors so that we are kept more up to date with all our Little Fighters on the ward.
A big Thank You goes out to Drakenstein Municipality whose donation went towards covering the costs of our Mothers’ Day Outreaches.