by Sidney Kushner
Every month, the staff at CCChampions gets together for a "Developmental Retreat." At these half-day retreats, we talk about all of our friendships and ask questions like, "If I could remember only one moment from this friendship, it would be..."
When I asked this question to my coworker Jen about Ja'Naya's friendship, we got an unexpected answer:
"That time Justin Bieber got a Duck Tape Makeover."
You see, 12-year-old Ja'Naya loves making Duck Tape creations (no, not duct tape, DUCK tape) with her role model friend Ally. Every time Ja'Naya's in the hospital, Ally visits her and they do all sort of activities like making Duck Tape flowers, painting fingernails, and everything in between.
But one time when Ally & Jen visited Ja'Naya, she had a special surprise for us. Her Barbie & Justin Bieber Barbie were getting ready for Prom, but they had a problem -- they didn't have the right outfits! So Ja'Naya made them head-to-toe Duck Tape outfits. Totally from scratch.
Do you see the bow on Barbie's dress? Ja'Naya's not fooling around!
As soon as Jen shared these pictures with us, we looked up Duck Tape, and a light bulb went off. The company who makes Duck Tape, Shurtech, was one of CCChampions' sponsors for the March to Friendship way back in 2014!
We were brainstorming ways to say "Thank You," and Ja'Naya suggested making them a Duck Tape wallet & writing them a thank you letter!
Moments like these are so overwhelming to me.
When a kid is diagnosed with cancer, everyone wants to give him or her the whole world. It's incredible to see a community come together like that, but our parents tell us how hard it is, at times like these, to teach their kids the importance of giving back. Giving back shows our kids that they have something to give, even during their darkest of days. And it reminds them that we're all in this together. What a powerful boost to our kids' self-esteem.
So when Ja'Naya offered to make something for Shurtech, we thought it was a special moment -- one that we never want to forget.
And guess what? Shurtech sent an AWESOME thank you gift to Ja'Naya!
Thank you, Shurtech, for making Ja'Naya's time in the hospital so much easier, and for giving her an opportunity to give back in such a powerful way!