'Children helping children': Cape Breton girl gives back with pillowcases for pediatrics
A nine-year-old girl is working to make children’s lives more comfortable while they’re in hospital, while also honouring the memory of a little boy who captured the hearts of his Cape Breton community.
Three-year-old Caleb MacArthur passed away in 2015 after battling a rare form of childhood cancer.
“Caleb’s Superhero Suite” opened in his memory two years ago at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital, in the same room where Caleb stayed during his cancer battle.
Caleb’s mother always wanted to decorate the room with colourful pillowcases, after a gesture extended to them while he was receiving treatment at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax.
“All of those pillowcases are such cherished keepsakes for us now, and they always put a smile on Caleb’s face, so I wanted to return the favour,” says Nicole Forgeron-MacArthur.
The idea came to life when family friend Lizzie Skinner sewed a superhero-themed pillowcase for Caleb’s sister, Aubreigh, for her birthday.
“And then Nicole got an idea. She wanted me to make pillows for the pediatrics unit in the hospital,” says Lizzie.
The Grade 4 student worked with her grandmother every Monday evening, sewing a total of 14 pillowcases for the pediatrics unit.
“I wanted to make kids feel like they’re at home in a hospital,” she says.
Lizzie’s mother remembers what the MacArthur family went through during Caleb’s illness and says the pillowcases are a perfect tribute.
“I’m really glad that they’re constantly keeping him alive, his memory alive, and supporting the other children that need help as well,” says Jody Skinner.
Forgeron-MacArthur says she knows all too well how something as basic as a pillowcase can help during a scary hospital stay, and is touched by the gesture, which is symbolic of her son’s legacy.
“This is what Caleb’s Courage is truly all about, is children helping children, and families helping families,” she says.
“There really is nothing more heartwarming than a child who’s giving back.”
With files from CTV Atlantic's Ryan MacDonald