One of the most frequently made statements that I get from care-givers when I arrive to a hospital visit is, "We have a lot of patients on droplet precautions right now, so we can just stand at their door." I quickly follow-up with, "If you'll allow us, we are more than willing to put on gown, gloves and mask, so we can get as close as we can to the kids!"
Now, to some this may sound pushy, but the reality is, the hospital sees a lot of visitors that are not interested in going for those genuine moments of sitting bedside for fear of the unknown, but the truth is, droplet precautions are not for my protection, it is for the protection of the patient. This means, if the care-giver will allow us to put on the necessary garments to ensure our presence doesn't harm the patient, we are ALL IN.
When I was in New York last month, I posted the photo below. What struck me most, was the amount of responses that I received from courageous families fighting cancer, appreciating my voice and mindset about this topic.
A comment I received on Instagram:
"THANK YOU FOR SAYING THOSE WORDS. I actually wouldn't get visitors when I was in a lot of heavy chemo treatment because they were required to wear all of that!"
These words were so crazy to hear. I knew it was true that this was something that kids were feeling when visitors would just stand at the door, or not visit at all, but those words show how important it is for these kids to feel supported and encouraged to NEGU by the people around them. These kids are often in the hospital for days, weeks and some even months or years at a time. It is such a privilege for me to have the opportunity to be a smile in their time at the hospital, but I know the reality is, most of their time at the hospital isn't as joyful. It's a lot of fighting, tests, pills, treatments, bad news, surprising news, etc. It's a breath of fresh air for them when they get a visitor, whether its a friendly stranger with a gold medal, or a familiar face in their friends and family; I believe it is so healing for them to feel things that have nothing to do with their disease.
I can assure you, with Team NEGU, we will always do whatever it takes to get as close as we can to the kiddos without putting them at risk! These kids need a moment of escape, a moment to feel normal. They need people like us to visit them. And that will not stop.
I am so honored to be a vessel of encouragement to kids in their fight with cancer.