And I'm not talking about the baby rabbit kind. Did you know that a baby rabbit is called a kit?
The first time I learnt that was when I had aspirations to have and breed rabbits. And chickens. And sheep and cows and alpacas. Well alpacas was really where it all started.
We visited an alpaca farm and instantly I was sold. I was going to have alpacas. Well small problem. We didn't actually have anything that could remotely be considered a farm (we lived in this small 2 bedroom townhouse in Auckland) and well there was the issue of cost. They are not cheap...
But yes, I had aspirations and dreams to own a rural property, do the whole self-sufficiency thing (not with the alpacas though, they were going to be for just because). Of course I would not be the one who would actually slaughter any animals, no I'd get somebody to do it on my behalf. But I had it all worked out.
That dream shattered really quickly when last year the one sheep on the property behind us (they don't belong to us) fell over and couldn't get back up. Absolutely heartbreaking. And no matter how hard the guy next to this property and I tried we could not get the sheep to actually want to get up. She was down. And for 2 days I walked backwards and forwards over the paddock with a few litres of water so she could drink something and I would turn her back onto her tummy so she could be more comfortable (and I was very sore because you don't quite realise how heavy a sheep is). And as I was with this sheep at one point, holding the container of water under her nose and softly chatting to her. I suddenly noticed the other sheep (as in plural. As in maybe about 20 of them) quietly walking up and stared at me and they stood there speaking in sheep language which sounded suspiciously like "what's a human doing here in our paddock. Let's gather up and charge at this human, chase her off our land...". Freaky moment I tell you. And so I quietly got up and walked back home. As you'll know I'm not a very fast runner and I had no intention being chased by sheep.
Finally the guy decided it was time to do the kind thing and put her to sleep. I asked him to please text me once it was done because I didn't want to actually go there and see her all dead and so on. I felt so sad, but the manager at the SPCA (I knew him from when I volunteered there) assured me that there was nothing more we could have done. So I felt better. But on that day I realised that perhaps I'm not quite made for farming. But anyway. It was only through all my research and joining forums and so on that I learnt that a baby rabbit was called a kit.
But this post isn't about that kind of kit.
No, this post is about another kind of kit. A kit that the Child Cancer Foundation give to newly diagnosed families. We also got such a kit way back in 2007 when Bianca was diagnosed.
Today I went to CCF for a bit and gave them a hand doing a few things around the office. One of my tasks was to go through a checklist and put together 4 kits. Each kit consists pretty much of an overnight bag, a toiletry bag with some basic essentials like a toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, a diary, a pen and reading material like how to help your child deal with pain, blood tests, changed eating, a book all about chemo and so on. And of course a digital thermometer - an absolute necessity on a child cancer journey.
This kit is such a huge lifesaver because when your child is diagnosed your whole world collapses and you are not prepared for the suddenness of it all. One moment everything is fine, the next your child is admitted to hospital. The last thing on your mind is thinking about what to pack for a hospital stay. And so many families are sent away initially to Christchurch (or in some instances Auckland) where they can spend anything from a few weeks to several months. And at times this is done at very short notice. So then not only does a family have to deal with the heartbreak of a child cancer diagnosis, but they have to leave behind their home and what they know and their support system and do all of this in a city they might not be familiar with. So having this kit with essentials is really amazing. See, when you donate to CCF, this is one of the things you are contributing to.
So today as I went through the checklist and putting together these kits I thought to myself how incredibly sad that these kits will be going to 4 more families. It means 4 more families who will have to be told their child has cancer. 4 More families whose lives will fall apart. 4 More families who will be starting a journey that is scary and unknown. A world where everything changes. I wish it wasn't necessary to put these kits together. I wish that kids (and adults) did not get cancer. But thankfully CCF is there to be there for these families. Without CCF's support we certainly could not have coped as well as we did.
So if this year you were looking for an idea to make a difference, consider doing something for CCF. Be it to donate some money or find ways to help raise money to help them do the things they do or to look at volunteering at your local Child Cancer Foundation or maybe you want to donate some new toys or games or books to help kids cope with the hours they end up spending in hospital (due to the risk of infection and illnesses, donated toys, games and books have to preferably be in new condition).
With child cancer - it is the one time you really do wish you never get picked for the team!