Ribbons send messages of hope

Young patients bring awareness to childhood cancer with personalized ribbons.

“Stay strong,” Sarah Conway says. “And just keep fighting.”

Sarah, 13, is taking on osteosarcoma with help from friends on the ninth floor of Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital.

Last week, Sarah, Alex McCready, 15, and Taegan Custard, 5, ventured outside the hospital to send messages of hope, awareness and strength to other children battling cancer.

“Nobody knows what they are going through better than they do,” said Child Life specialist Rhys VanDemark, who helped the young patients create personalized gold ribbons they placed on trees near the hospital.

Alex is finishing up treatment for leukemia and will soon be heading home to Sault Ste. Marie. “The most important thing is to keep on smiling and stay positive,” he said.

Taegan made a fashion statement with his ribbon, wearing it like a necktie. The Cheboygan boy is fighting leukemia and mostly enjoyed the wagon ride.

Sarah, who is from Benton Harbor, has a plan for her future. “I want to be a doctor that cares for lung cancer patients,” she said.

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