Cat Immersion Project eases the loneliness of confined cancer patient
August 16, 2012
Over the past year, 16-year-old Maga Barzallo Sockemtickem has been in and out of the hospital while she battled acute myeloid leukemia, a blood and bone marrow cancer. According to EverydayHealth.com, Maga had to endure bouts of chemotherapy, radiation, stem cell transplants and even had to wait seven months for a bone marrow transplant. Just when it was learned that she was in the clear, she was forced to return to the hospital to be treated for graft-versus-host disease (GVHD).
To treat this effectively, Maga was kept in isolation to protect her from germs and other infections. While she has been courageous throughout the process, Maga has missed being able to visit with her beloved cat, Merry. Thankfully, the healthcare workers at Seattle Children's Hospital may have come up with the next best thing. According to the New York Daily News, since Maga hasn't been able to leave her room for several weeks during treatment, the hospital workers began brainstorming how they could cheer Maga up. They thought about having a Skype session with Merry, but decided to turn to social media for an answer.
The hospital employees pooled together pictures of their animals and put out a message on Facebook asking for users to send photos of their own to brighten Maga's day. After receiving more than 3,000 photos, the hospital staff set up bedsheets around Maga's bed, as well as a projector that would cycle through the images. The pictures were even accompanied by purring noises and the workers were overjoyed to see Maga's mood and attitude improve. She even decided to post a message online to thank all of the thoughtful people who submitted pictures.
"Thank you for taking the time and sending all these pictures in because it means so much to me," Maga wrote. "And it makes me really happy to see all these cats and it makes me think of my cat. They're all very cute."
Maga's story showcases the healing power of animals, even if they can't physically be there in the room with you. If you've been thinking about becoming an animal caretaker, there's no better time than now. During Bideawee's Free Feline Days, you can bring home an adult cat or kitten without paying an adoption fee from now until the end of August 2012.