The Comfort Care Tote program provides a high quality custom tote bag to patients once diagnosed who undergo chemotherapy treatment here in Windsor. The care tote contains items to support patients during chemotherapy, helping them to cope and manage side effects.
A huge thank your to our title sponsor of this program The Stephanie and Barry Zekelman Foundation.
At our annual Gala, Eagle Press and the family of Ed Polewski presented a cheque for $20,000 for the comfort tote program in honour of Ed who passed in May. This generous donation will help bring comfort to 1,000+ newly diagnosed individuals a year.
In Social Media:
Michelle Prince – Program Leader
Posted February 13th
“A 5 minute ambush.
When I was diagnosed with cancer I went underground for a bit. Turned off the phone, didn’t answer the door. A turtle would have envied how well I retreated to my shell. I was utterly broken. If you’ve been diagnosed, I know you know that moment too.
An old friend from high school was relentlessly trying to reach me. I wasn’t even returning my own mothers phone calls, why the heck did this girl think she’s at the top of the list for a visit? True, she is a cancer survivor. But it wasn’t ‘my’ type of cancer, and what would she know about me and my cancer anyway? Yup, I was already a know it all cancer warrior.
Not a good look for me!
Thankfully her husband stepped in as a buffer with my husband and said with sincere empathy, ‘listen this meeting will happen, it’s 5 minutes and we promise it will be worth it.’
Those 5 minutes did indeed happen. And it put me from turtle mode to action mode and finally got me taking one step in front of the other. I forever vowed I’d spend that same 5 minutes with someone else when given the opportunity. Now let me elaborate.
The door to my house opens, in she comes and says “there’s no time for tears, yes it all sucks, but here’s what you need to know and do, and this will in some way make it all a little easier.” “Trust me” she says.
Onto the countertop plops a blue box, complete with a blue ribbon (for colon cancer) and a sign that says “cancer warrior box.” One by one she took out items big and small, all individually labelled with directions (for when I was sure to forget what she had said to me). The items were serious and funny and awkward and vital all at the same time.
It had absolutely everything I needed to start chemotherapy, and ironically none of it was told to me by a doctor or nurse. It took a fellow warrior to show me the way.
Tiny hand sanitizers for my purse, a giant one to keep for guests at my front door- germs are real when you’re immunocompromised during chemo. Gravol and Senokot for the obvious. Mints for the metallic taste I didn’t know chemo would give me. A variety of teas, because my taste buds will change and I’ll end up not liking what I once did, or worse, many tastes and smells will just make me nauseous.
A journal to use for doctors appointments and to log how I’m feeling between chemo sessions. So when the doctor asks how you’ve been and your chemo brain can only offer a blank space, open the book and there’s your answer.
My kit was personalized for me, funny little books, smutty entertainment magazines (don’t judge) and an iTunes card. Essential to pass the time in any hospital or doctors office.
The box held probably 20 items that I grew to love (and hate) because they were so practical and yet so essential.
When anyone I know allows me to barge in on their life after a cancer diagnosis, I use that 5 minutes and a box of carefully labelled items wisely. Passing it on takes the “first chemo session fear” out of most people because they are empowered with a warrior kit while heading into battle.
Thank you Daniella (and Tal) Czudner for busting down my door and giving me 5 minutes of love in a box!
Now to make the story even better the great folks at Transition 2 Betterness have decided that this is a project of love that can help so many people (1,100 people in our area are diagnosed every year). T2B will be putting together an entire program for our region to have access to an aptly named “Comfort Care Tote” the moment they are diagnosed. By taking this step T2B will be empowering and helping people from day 1 of diagnosis. We already know what a vital role they play in the cancer journey!
Now I’ll shamelessly tell you that a Comfort Care Tote costs actual money to put together, and you can sponsor a tote, or portions, or dozens, by reaching out to T2B via the link in my comments.
The Zekelman Foundation has paved the way for this program and I couldn’t be more grateful.
I’m personally so blessed to have a friend who thought of me in my time of need, and that someone had thought of her. Now this chain of love and compassion can be passed on to so many!
PS I never promote or ask for donations- but today I will!! Please like, share and if you see it in your heart donate!!”