Reflections of a student volunteer:
I think that I will always remember Tuesday, May 28, 2019. Driving to the Grand River Regional Cancer Centre I doubted how drawing messages on the sidewalk with chalk could make a substantial effect on a person's life. It was a cold and wet day with no sun. Our class pulled up in our yellow school bus at about 9:15 am, our teacher directed us to this open, garden like area with sidewalks at the very front of the hospital. From this area we could see many windows from which patients, doctors, nurses, etc. would soon be seeing our art.
Our class of 39 students split into two groups. My group toured the hospital first. What I gained most from this tour was an understanding of what patients would be experiencing daily. Seeing the patients that were fighting to live and understanding their treatments helped me to understand how great our impact would be.
Stepping out of the hospital and seeing all the messages that the other group had written was absolutely inspiring. All together my classmates and I drew sidewalk chalk drawings for two hours, writing inspiring messages like “You Go Girl!”, “We are Proud of You”, “You're Doing Great!” etc., making drawings, and just putting colours on the dull sidewalk.
Our hands were cold but our excitement for the patients to see the finished product kept us going. I remember seeing patients walk by and smile. This helped me to see our impact. At the very end of the two hours I walked down the whole garden area that we had drawn on, wishing I could see how the patients would see it from the windows. I saw so many bright messages, and drawings and prayed that the patients would be able to make out what they said. I remember thinking “We made a difference. I made a difference.”
I left feeling like I was somewhat connected with the patients up in the hospital looking down at us. On the ride home we got a message from one of the doctors, a student’s mother, who we had seen before we starting drawing. It read “Please thank everyone. The messages are so big and bright. You can see them so well from the windows. Sandra, our chief nurse in the systemic suite, is telling all the patients to have a look.”
On this dreary, cold, gross day, all the patients, both fighting to kill cancer and fighting to live with it, would be looking out the windows and seeing our messages. Families with kids our age and younger would look out the window and feel happy, maybe forgetting for a minute about how their loved one is struggling to fight cancer, or being inspired to feel that they can keep fighting.
This service initiative left me knowing that I could make a change, that in this huge world with 7.53 billion people, I myself could help.
-- Abby S.
On Tues. May 28, 2019, the Grade 9 class of St. John's-Kilmarnock school filled the sidewalks in fron...