Small capes helping to provide normalcy for kids with cancer

TORONTO – Kick Cancer’s Arse Capes are meant to help a kid feel like a kid, when they are battling a fight like cancer.

“For that one moment they are feeling like superheroes and I am glad I am a part of it,” said Tara McCallan.

McCallan said the idea came to her in May after her best friend told her that her son had cancer.

“It was my way to do something to let him know that everyone is thinking of him and all the strength is behind him.” she said.

McCallan is the Founder of the website Happy Soul Project. It is a blog about her life raising two children, one who just happens to have Down Syndrome.

That is why she posted the cape guesture to her website and why the idea soared. She invited people to nominate children and more than 350 capes have been sent out to children worldwide, including Australia and Thailand.

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“We have local women in Kingston that run some sewing bees and create a lot of capes for us that way.” said McCallan.  “But we’ve also had a bunch of schools on board as kind of their class project to create a lot of capes.”

Matthew Sherlock heard about Happy Soul Project after seeing children at Sick Kids Hospital donning the capes. His daughter Allyson has battled leukemia for more than a year.

“I saw some kids walking around with capes in the hospital. And I thought to myself. I want that. I want that for my kids,” said Sherlock.

Both Allyson and her brother Gordon,9, were recipients of the cape.

“Kids, going through situations, they are heroes. We’re always searching for heroes and examples in our own communities for kids. And I think sometimes these kids just have to look in the mirror and say you know what? I’m special. I’m pretty good.” said Sherlock.

The Ronald McDonald House Toronto is a “home away from home” for families who have children that are receiving treatment for serious illnesses and tries to provide some normalcy for families. CEO Jane Marco says the capes help retain that normalcy.

“There is nothing that eases a parent’s mind more than when they see their child having a good time,” said Marco. “I just love the visual it gives because it’s kind of the power of possibilities.  Just like Superman.”

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Marco said that when a child is sick, the whole family is affected. That is why she likes the fact that siblings are included in the Kick Cancer’s Arse Capes project.

“They need to be a part of the family too and they need to feel a part of what’s going on.” she said. “So including them in this, gives them a way to be part of the solution, part of the healing which is so important.” she said.

Kick Cancer’s Arse Capes are so popular, there is now a waiting list.

“The demand is so great.” said McCallan.  “We definitely need more people making capes or donating money or donating fabric or getting on board like the school projects idea.”

McCallan encourages groups to set up their own sewing bees. She also said that if purchases are made on the Happy Soul Project website, proceeds will go to Kick Cancer’s Arse Capes.

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