Originally, I planned on writing some blog posts about Lumaverse’s impact or about coloring in the lines, but since we’re already receiving a ton of holiday cards and getting more requests from our partners, I’m switching things up. Whenever I get SUPER desperate about topics, I begin to think about my personal stories. For example, I tried to explain why it’s important to have positive proclamations on your cards rather than commands by using a prior appointment of mine, #TestTheResults.
Just so we’re all on the same page, I know Cardz for Kidz is a bit biased. I base a lot of what we do for children and families based on my personal experience. That’s why we reward our partner hospitals with portable entertainment systems (link to my promise) and all the cards we send are strictly encouraging/don’t mention health, i.e. conditions like epilepsy don’t align with ‘Get Well Soon’ cards.
I’m thankful my buddies at the University of Michigan Medical Center wrote about our history together, hospital’s blog post, but that mainly focused on the surgery. As noted in their article, my surgery took place with my family on August 5, 2005. I mentioned it in prior blogs, but that experience went well. I had family and friends there for support and that’s why I choose August 5th to be International Cardz for Kidz Day.
As mentioned before, the EEGs before the surgery were definitely less than enchanting and that’s why all of our cards are delivered room to room, https://cardzforkidz.org/cant-complain. But one thing that hasn’t been shared is what took place soon after. Now, I was an adult and wasn’t receiving cards throughout it all, but just like the time when I was waiting to hear back about those recent test results, let’s pretend in this instance that your cards could have been involved.
All the details are included in the Can’t Complain blog post, but in everyone’s eyes the surgery went well. I was released within days and returned to classes the following month. I did my best to carry on with my normal life until….
Of course, I don’t remember the details, but on December 13, 2005, I had to go to the emergency room. I was having a setback from the surgery and wasn’t responding well. As you can imagine, my entire family was startled. December 13. Emergency room. My brain surgery may have potentially fallen apart. With trips to the ER, they don’t give you 100% of the details. The goal is to make sure you’re stable and then, if necessary, schedule you for follow up appointments and/or visits with the specialist you need to see. December 13.
We know we currently have people itching to make holiday cards, so let’s pretend that during my trip to the emergency room the doctors came in and gave my family and I, pictured above, a set of holiday cards. Cards with messages such as:
‘Thinking of you this holiday period’
‘You’re the bright spot of this season’
‘There’s no buddy like a snow buddy’
‘O holy night’
‘You deserve the happiest holiday of all’
Or maybe someone was too busy, and they just gave me a card with a holiday image on the outside and was blank on the inside. Or maybe a bookmark that said, ‘Reading is FUNdamental’.
Those cards may all by quaint right that second, but how valuable would they really be? December 13, 2005. 12 days before Christmas. A trip to the emergency room. I wasn’t necessarily focused on the season but had other things on my mind. I like to think I remembered my promise and carried on that season: I’m breathing, so I can’t complain, but I know I was worried about the future.
Now, let’s jump to a date after the holidays, March 9, 2006. My follow up doctor’s appointment where they provided the results from all the tests, and I learned the impact of the trip to the ER and their recommendation going forward. If I received a bunch of holiday cards during my ER trip in December, I’m sure I would have recycled all those cards right after the holidays. When it came time for the scary follow-up appointment when I was waiting for the results, I would simply rely on my personal strength (*I’m breathing, so I can’t complain*) since the prior cards I received were all outdated. I can’t imagine.
Thankfully, it wasn’t like that for me at all! Since my brain surgery was in August rather than around the holidays, I didn’t have to worry about only receiving seasonal cards. As mentioned during the last video conferencing event, the surgery went well, and I had a lot of visitors.
Since I didn’t receive ‘Get Well Soon’ or seasonal messaging, I still have a lot of the handmade artwork to this day. For example, the gorgeous sunset the art therapist I worked/volunteered with made for me and brought to my room when I was a patient.
The handmade artwork Ms. All Done worked on with her mom during one of my last volunteer shifts before my surgery.
Finally, what’s VERY exciting is I still have Cuz here with me
A telling sign is that his ‘Get Well Soon’ button came off, but his custom message is still there. ‘Get Well Soon’ cards will never make it through, but positive custom messages can last a long time.
Based on personal experience, my request is that you make cards that our recipients can hold on to and cherish for a while. Yes, I promise you it does suck to go to the hospital or other tough situations around the holidays (e.g. had a bad seizure once on Thanksgiving). Still, it’s not fun to go through those types of situations throughout the year as well. It’s encouraging to have a positive experience in the hospital and to be able to carry that positive experience with you for a lasting period (And that’s why I’m constantly pleading with people to use card stock rather than construction paper). Please make it so your card is versatile enough so if people get it around the holidays, they could still use that message for encouragement during their potential follow-up appointment in the spring. I heard from a couple of different parents who take their cards with them to every appointment.
Make every day memorable.
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