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Empowering pediatric chemo patients

Sat, Mar 16th 2019 07:00 am

Since 2005, the Gamma Delta Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma International has been providing gently used/new books, sometimes with homemade bears, to the patients and families of our Women and Children’s Hospital, newly renamed Oishei Children’s Hospital. Over the years, the books have come in various forms, from a simple collection and quarterly drop-off to Women and Children’s Hospital Foundation, to more recent centering upon both the hematology/oncology units as well as the cystic fibrosis clinic.

Two years ago, a donation of “Turtellini the Turbo Powered Turtle,” written, illustrated and signed by author/artist Doug MacGregor, accompanied a hand-made chemo cape.

Since they believe it “takes a village” to raise a child, the sisters of the Gamma Delta Chapter of the Delta Kappa Gamma Society International felt called upon to do their part to empower young patients with courage, stamina and strength. Inspired by a news clip of a caring pediatric nurse who dons superhero costumes to reduce fear and increase well-being in his patients, the chemo cape was born.

This turtle-powered cape reflects the character of Turtellini, the turbo powered turtle, written and illustrated by MacGregor; Turtellini overcomes all obstacles with determination to “soar high!” These kits were given to patients in the oncology/hematology department at Oishei in an effort to pull kids out of the shells of fear and withdrawal, giving them the positive self-talk recommended to reduce stress and foster the healing process.

In response to the chemo capes, the mother of Michael, a recipient, said that he took the book to bed and slept in the cape, not wanting to take it off. Thus, when the chapter decided to revisit the chemo cape project, members called upon Michael and his mom to pass out the gifts again. Now 2 years old, Michael continues to need chemo to survive his rare condition, but was certain to feel weightless and turbo-charged as he visited his fellow patients with our gift of hope.

The project was funded by a grant from the Bea Small Committee of Delta Kappa Gamma.

Pictured are current Sidway Elementary School Principal Denise Dunbar, guest of the event, and Agnes Becker, former Connor Middle School principal and active member of the chapter.

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