My daughter, Mable, was four years old when she was diagnosed with cancer. She had just started kindergarten and was looking forward to learning new things. A highly social kid, she was ecstatic about being in a class with so many people her age.
Instead of an enjoyable experience, she had a nightmare. She was robbed of her kindergarten year by leukemia. Feeling awful, scared, isolated, and confused was her new normal life. A life where she had almost no say in what happened to her. A life where needles, nausea, and scary situations came all too often.
As parents, we tried to comfort her, reassure her, and make things better. We tried to explain what was happening in age-appropriate terms. The problem was that we really did not know what was happening and we did not know how to explain it so that she could understand.
We were new to this situation. We frantically searched Google for answers, many of which are contradictory and do not differentiate between kids and adults. Not enough basic information is presented in a straightforward manner to ease parental panic a bit.
It could have been anyone who has gone through this journey. Mable just had the fortune to have had a media-worthy wish granted to her, turning her into SpiderMable, cancer fighter and Spiderman’s companion in busting crime.
Mable’s first charity event post-SpiderMable was for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada, when she joined forces with some local artists for an autograph signing session. The opportunity to do more for the LLSC and for children fighting cancer did not have to be debated.
From Mable’s experience with cancer and her larger-than-life story as SpiderMable in helping others going through cancer treatment, the LLSC wanted to create a leukemia activity book for kids from the perspective of Mable and SpiderMable. We felt honoured to have her story help others.
Using simple but appropriate language, the SpiderMable activity book describes a lot of the things that new cancer kids will encounter on their journey. It explains things much better than any confused parent could and makes the information less scary just by being presented in the comic format by a young girl.
It was very therapeutic for the entire family to be able to help in some small way with the development of the activity book. Mable was able to look back on how far she had come from the scared 4-year-old in a hospital for the first time. She saw the helpful and comforting words. Even after her cancer journey was over, the book gave her insight and information about what she had undergone.
We thank you for allowing us to be a part of it.
Lisa Tooke (a.k.a. SpiderMum)