The Ready Bag Program through Roc Solid Foundation is the first sign of hope in what feels like an impossible time. When families get that first diagnosis that their child has pediatric cancer, it’s incredibly daunting. They have to immediately be admitted to the hospital for tests and treatments, without any time to stop at home to pick anything up.
Eric, the Chief Play Officer for Roc Solid, told a story at the packing party about how when he first came up with the Ready Bag program, it came from a story from his mother. Eric is a survivor of pediatric cancer, and when he was admitted, his family was separated, just for a time, to make sure that they had the things that they needed in the hospital. He wanted to do something to help alleviate that moment in what can be the worst day ever for some families.
It’s more than just the items that you see below for these families. It’s truly the first sign of hope, the first act of kindness, the first sign that these families aren’t fighting a fight alone.
If you missed the last post that I made when I got to meet some of the families who had received these bags earlier in June, check it out here.
One of my favorite parts doing this content session was getting to see how Eric starts and ends every meeting. It’s about the “why”. They go around the room and talk about why they’re involved, why they’re there. I was included in this, and my “why” was because people need to know about the good work that Roc Solid and all the volunteers involved are doing for people that they don’t even know.
Then, Leah and her mother made an appearance and told their story. They talked about the day that they got the first diagnosis of Leah’s cancer. They talked about when they were first given a Ready Bag, and then a playset. More importantly, they discussed what it means to have an organization like Roc Solid and volunteers like BB&T (the company who was doing the packing party) who are rallying behind them.
Before everyone got to packing bags, each volunteer (and I!) wrote encouraging notes to the families who would receive these bags on the toughest days of their lives.
Then the packing started.
Everyone in a line, with a very defined list of what each bag should have, so that each family had exactly what they needed: things like toiletries, a blanket, a tablet, and games to help time pass while they’re in the hospital. After bags were packed, volunteers put a tag on them, signing it with their name so that families knew that a real person was behind the items that were inside.
After each bag was checked for accuracy, everyone got to assemble the boxes that would ship these bags to the hospitals, with encouraging notes written on the inside flaps for those that would open it.
And then last, the meeting ended with “why” again. For some, the reason was the same. For others, they were impacted by Leah & her mother’s story. Me? I was impacted by the kindness in the world, and how volunteers came together after a long day of work to give these families a sign of hope.
Another thing that Eric mentioned that really stuck with me was this: we all have the opportunity to be part of someone’s story. Whether it’s volunteering with a great organization like Roc Solid Foundation and never actually getting to meet that person, or being part of a playset build and seeing how play can help defeat cancer. That’s really special – and a really, REALLY cool way to look at organizations like this one – and life in general.