For a kid with cancer, choosing what kind of bandage they want after a poke or prod isn’t an unimportant decision.
Just ask Sophia Hvidson of Canora. The five-year-old was diagnosed with leukemia in April 2015. She went into remission just a month later but will be continuing treatment until June of 2017.
This fall, Sophia embarked on a special campaign – to collect different kinds of adhesive bandages for the kids getting treated in the Saskatoon Cancer Centre’s pediatrics department.
The bandaids Sophia donated are no ordinary beige-coloured bandages. They look like hot dogs or macaroni; some have superheroes or Barbies; others glow in the dark – just a little something special to give a kid with cancer a bit of joy.
“Sophia likes to give back. It keeps her happy, and she knows this will make other kids happy,” said her mother, Shanna.
Sophia Hvidston (centre) and her sister Emilie present the bandaids she collected to three of the pediatric oncology nurses at the Saskatoon Cancer Centre. From left: Heather Cattet, Sophie LeBlanc and Shari Nickel.
“When Sophia was originally diagnosed with leukemia, we received a lot of help and gifts from people. This is our way of paying it forward,” Shanna explained.
This isn’t the first time Sophia has done what she can to help out other kids in her situation.
Last Christmas, Sophia and her teacher decided to do a toy drive for Ronald McDonald House in Saskatoon. They collected donations from the local community and beyond, thanks to a post on Facebook requesting people to send toys, bedding, gift cards, goods and ornaments to Ronald McDonald House. So many children’s toys were donated the family needed to take a truck to get the whole load to Saskatoon in one trip.
Then, last spring, Sophia worked with the American MaxLove project, which helps those living with childhood cancer, to bring 24 bags of presents to the cancer centre.
Sophia’s bandaid drive, once again using Facebook, started a few months ago.
At the end of the drive, she managed to collect and donate 299 boxes of bandaids – approximately 8,500 individual bandaids - to the pediatrics department at the Saskatoon Cancer Centre.
“Family donated, and I put it on my personal Facebook page, that we were collecting bandaids,” Shanna said, “and a fellow cancer mom made a Facebook event page, and collected donations from Saskatoon. Lots of family, friends, and even strangers donated bandaids to Sophia once they heard about it. We even had a few people give money so Sophia could pick out the ones she wanted. I used to work in Registration at Royal University Hospital, and they collected bandaids for us, too. Donations just kept coming in It ended up being way more than we expected.”
The family is happy to be making the journey of other cancer patients a little brighter.
“Sophia knows, from us staying at Ronald McDonald House, that there are a lot of kids who are sick, and whose families are there for various reasons,” Shanna said, which is why she wanted to do the toy drive. “This year, she knows the kids getting treatment for cancer are poked and prodded all the time, and picking out a bandaid is a special joy for them.”
Working on these donations has been a wonderful experience for their whole family, Shanna noted, and they are already working on next year’s pay-it-forward idea.