You may recall the story of Violet and school chaplains Kylie and Sarah from our recent End of Financial Year Appeal.
What we weren’t able to share with you at the time was the beautiful relationship Violet formed with a would-be classmate at Bald Hills State School…
In January 2016, Violet was to start Year 1. Instead, she was confined to Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital to begin cancer treatment.
Violet’s teacher kept a desk available in the Year 1 classroom in anticipation of her return.
Chappy Kylie set up a letterbox on Violet’s desk for her classmates to write letters of encouragement and support to give to her while she was in hospital.
At the desk next to Violet’s was a girl named Holly.
“Holly had written a letter to Violet to say she wanted to sit together with her in class,” recalls Violet’s dad, Craig.
A few months later, Holly was diagnosed with leukaemia.
“We knew the Box family and we’d followed their journey on Facebook, but I never imagined this happening to my family,” says Holly’s mum, Anna.
“The first day we turned up a
t the hospital, I saw Colleen [Violet’s mum] in the Oncology Ward and she saw me and her face said it all, ‘don’t tell me you’re here for that reason?’
“I said Holly’s been diagnosed with leukaemia. She gave me a big hug, which was really reassuring.”
As was the case with Violet and her family, Chappy Kylie was there providing support for Holly’s mum Anna and sister Chloe at school, while Chappy Sarah was an ever-present source of support for Holly at the hospital.
“I remember when Holly was in isolation and Sarah had come in to visit her, it just brightened her day. It brought her out of feeling like ‘I don’t want to be here’.
“It’s been fantastic to have a chaplain at the hospital and the way Kylie and Sarah have worked together has been a huge benefit for the kids and for us as parents,” says Anna.
It’s clear when talking to Holly what a difference her chappies have made, particularly Chappy Sarah at the hospital school.
“She’s very funny. She talks about a lot of funny things,” says Holly.
Anna, Holly and her sister Chloe are eternally grateful to friends like you who are supporting the work of school chaplaincy.
“Keep donating. For our family, it has just lifted some of the burden we carry, particularly in those early days of diagnosis. In life you never know what’s going to happen. So to have this service, it’s just invaluable for the whole family,” says Anna.
As for Holly, she wouldn’t be without her chaplains.
“They are really nice and they support kids and families having rough times. I think they’re important,” says Holly.
Thank you for your ongoing prayers for these two beautiful families.
To keep the lifeline of chaplaincy going, please visit suqld.org.au/donate.