Saturday, September 1, 2012

Why The Elephant You Ask?

Since discovering a "concerning mass" in my colon in mid-February, I had been trying to avoid detailed discussion of news in front of my oldest son Marcus who is 10 but had been a bit more lax in front of my 4 year old daughter Sophia.

It was the night before my surgery to remove the mass and I was on the phone with one of my dearest friends Kelly Ann.  We were discussing all of the things this could possibly be besides cancer (it is amazing how creative you can get in times like these).  My daughter Sophia was in and out of the room so it is unclear between this conversation and others before how much she had overheard.

Later that night, Sophia asked me to draw her a picture of our family for her to color. So I did, but please don't judge me for my drawing capabilities, for some reason or another, my dear mother didn't care to pass down her art skills to me, thanks Ma!

When Sophia was done coloring she brought the drawing to me and my breath caught when I saw how she had colored me all in red.  Our conversation then went like this:

Me: Sophia, why is mommy covered in red dots?
Sophia: Cause mommy.....the killers killed you!
Me (with heart stopped): What?!? The killers killed me...why?
Sophia: Because Ma, they wanted to show you a present in the woods but you wouldn't see it?
Me: Oh mommy is dead, that makes me sad.
Sophia: No silly mommy...then a big white elephant came along and sprayed you down with his trunk and you were all better!

Phew, right....thankfully there was a happy ending to the story, at least that's how I will choose to see it.   Children amaze me.   It very easy to confuse a child's limited vocabulary with a limited comprehension, but clearly Sophia knew something was going on.  And I know some people believe that kids at that age have an “ability” to see things where adults do not and I tend to agree!

~ Michelle 

An even more poignant twist to this story is while recovering from her surgery in the hospital, one of the nurses taking care of Michelle had an elephant tattooed on her arm!

So as we started planning the benefit for her, the image of an elephant was so perfect as a t-shirt design. An elephant's behind is even more fitting to represent colon cancer.

The vision was for the elephant to "spray" blue ribbons. But Michelle did not want the focus to be solely on colon cancer, as one of her pet peeves is how segregated cancer awareness can be.  The attention to breast cancer has risen dramatically with the pink ribbon campaign and has made great strides, however colorectal cancer remains the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States.  The fight to end cancer should be a universal fight to end all cancer.  And so our final design shows an elephant spraying multi-colored ribbons to raise awareness for all cancer.  Because all cancers, no matter what kind, have the same earth shattering impact on the diagnosed, their family and their friends.

~ Sandra 

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