CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Two things:
- These onesies are really important.
- This Charlotte brother and sister never had the chance to meet.
I'll start with the kids. Drew Slocum was first featured in September 2013 after being diagnosed with Infantile Leukemia. (That post here >> http://tinyurl.com/lxtpcp8.)
Sadly, Drew also contracted a rare virus unconnected to the cancer. It affected his heart. On January 2, 2015, Drew suddenly died. It was devastating. He was 2 years old.
His mom, Mandy, was 7 months pregnant.
Eight weeks later, she gave birth to Hadley Clara.
"Hadley has brought tremendous love and joy," Mandy said. "It is strange to experience grief over Drew, while experiencing love for our daughter. One doesn't cancel out the other."
In a fantastically-titled blog -- "Bed Head and Belly Laughs" – Mandy says the family's journey with pediatric cancer continues, just in a different direction. (Find blog here >> http://tinyurl.com/p7qe3hl.)
This is where the onesies come in.
When Drew was sick and needed chemo, his only option was to have a central line placed because babies can't get portacaths.
That central line hung underneath his onesie and stuck out. Major inconvenience. It got soiled by his diaper. Pulled. Tugged. Bit. Tangled. Whatever. It got in the way, and was never easy to place.
Mandy started adapting Drew's onesies to protect the central line. She bought a sewing machine and learned how to make what she started calling "Drew's Cruisers". He loved them. She did too.
She started making them for other babies at Levine Children's Hospital.
Then she put them on Etsy. They sold across the country, fast. Mandy knew she was onto something.
But she didn't want kids fighting cancer to pay. Fast forward to now. Mandy has recently partnered with The Claire Parker Foundation. Thanks to their help, she is making and DONATING all Drew's Cruiser onesies to babies undergoing cancer treatment in FIVE pediatric oncology hospitals across the country.
For more >> http://claireparkerfoundation.org.
"In the past our friends and family would send gift cards to us," Mandy says. "But now we're fully funded and supported, so we're asking anyone that wants to help make these onesies, to just donate to the Foundation."
All info is in the link above.
"My husband Wes and I believe it's important we help families in a tangible way," Mandy told me. "So as you so often say, Molly, we're just 'doing what we can' to help our littlest warriors."
Congratulations on turning your sorrow into a real channel to help others, Mandy.
You bought your own sewing machine? Adapted onesies? Now make them in your home in Charlotte? Have a system in place to get them to hundreds of kids in five pediatric oncology hospitals?
That's ACTION at its finest.