Nashville, Tenn — Gabe’s Chemo Duck program, a program of the nonprofit organization, Gabe’s My Heart, is raising money to buy 500 stuffed ducks that will help children suffering from cancer. Lu Sipos, founder of Gabe’s My Heart, created Chemo Duck in an effort to help her son, Gabe through his battle against cancer. Chemo Duck is a stuffed yellow duck dressed in blue hospital scrubs with a bandana around its head, a chemotherapy port on its chest and an immobilizer on his arm. Sipos wanted to help her son understand what was happening to him, as life quickly became a never-ending round of doctor and hospital visits. This month marks the 5-year anniversary of Gabe being cancer-free and to celebrate, Gabe wants to give Chemo Ducks to other children dealing with the disease in hopes of bringing a sense of comfort during a very difficult of time. To help Gabe this holiday season, visit www.chemoduck.org and sponsor a duck for a child in need for only $25.
Chemo Duck has become a powerful and therapeutic teaching tool to familiarize thousands of children around the world with cancer protocol and procedures. The goal of Gabe’s Chemo Duck program is to enable hospital staff and parents throughout the country to prepare children for chemotherapy treatment and eliminate the fear of the unknown. In a gentle, age-appropriate manner, children are exposed to life during cancer treatment and now have a friend so share the experience with. In turn, children can use Chemo Duck to help friends, siblings and classmates to understand and empathize with their experience.
“My son was so young when we received his diagnosis and it was very hard for me to explain what was happening to him,” explains Sipos. “Gabe obviously didn’t know the medical terms and was very afraid of the medical equipment. But when Chemo Duck arrived and we began doing role-play with it, Gabe quickly began to understand the procedures and his fear subsided.”
Lu adds, “Thanks to the specialists at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital in Nashville and with the help of Chemo Duck, my son was able to overcome a very traumatic time. And now that Gabe is a bit older, he realizes the importance that Chemo Duck played in his life and he wants nothing more than to give that gift to other children who are going through the same experience.”
Gabe’s My Heart, a Nashville-based nonprofit organization, was established in 2004 to provide education and comfort to children living with cancer through medical play using therapeutic tools. In addition, Gabe’s My Heart helps parents identify their role in their child’s recovery by offering them specific techniques to help them cope with this life-changing situation. To learn more about Gabe’s Chemo Duck program or Gabe’s My Heart, visit www.gabesmyheart.com.