Cancer is a lot to deal with for anyone, especially a kid. Sometimes one just needs a moment alone... or maybe a moment with a few other kids who share the same disease. And if the Rowdies happen to visit...or the Rays, it's nice to have someone to play Xbox with!
That's why former cancer patient Cole Eicher - who officially rang the bell declaring himself cancer-free at All Children's Hospital Johns Hopkins Medicine last September - was determined to raise the funds to create a teen lounge for other young cancer patients on "7-South" - the Vincent Lecavalier Pediatric Cancer and Blood Disorders Center.
"When I was on this floor, I would just hang out in my room," explains 13-year-old Cole, "I knew the time would fly if kids could hang out in this room together. If I was still in the hospital, I would be here all day."
Cole worked with Walgreens and Florida Print Solutions, among others, to create a fundraiser involving "Foot Golf" - a combination of golf and soccer - that helped bring in an impressive $10,000. The funds were used to convert a little-used room on the seventh floor into a teen lounge that gives kids who are isolated on the floor their own special place.
An official ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on June 10, and the media flashbulbs had barely gone out when the first teen, wearing a hospital gown and pulling his IV pole, peeked around the corner to see what the commotion was. Within minutes, he was sitting on the couch playing Xbox and enjoying the moment.
"Cole knows firsthand the importance of distraction during an experience like this," says Cole's mom, Laura . "He is so grateful to the doctors, nurses and Child Life for all that they do, but sometimes the kids just need to have a moment to themselves to share their experiences."
And now they can, thanks to a former patient who saw a need and wanted to make something happen for others, in spite of dealing with his own recovery.