“Some of the younger kids at school called her ‘baldy,’ and the older children were worried they were going to ‘catch’ what she had.” Kelly, Sophie’s mum
Sophie was just six years old when her parents received the awful news – she had Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia, commonly known as ALL. She went through chemotherapy, steroid treatments and endless tests and needles.
The worst part was the daily injections she had to have in her stomach.
After almost a year of treatment the doctors said Sophie could return to school. But she was completely bald and her skin was pale. Her parents were worried about her being bullied or left out at school because of her cancer.
Sophie was also worried about how the other children would react to her appearance. Her parents got in touch with Camp Quality and asked for help.
Camp Quality puppeteers performed our little kids’ show at her school, while her exhausted parents sat up the back and watched. Mum Kelly remembers it well:
“I sat at the back of the room and watched the performance, so I could see how the kids reacted. I saw them looking back at Sophie and you could see the realisation dawning, you could see them thinking: ‘Oh, that’s what Sophie must have had'.”
They explained everything to the kids in an age appropriate way, while putting on a show for the whole school.
“The puppets made Sophie so happy. And they really helped the other children to understand what she was going through. From that point on, all the issues and problems stopped, and Sophie could just get on with her life.”
Thanks to countless generous Australians, Puppet Power allowed Sophie to attend school and focus on the important things – her friends, learning and just being a kid.
Sadly, this is not the case for many children. We receive letters and emails that would break your heart. They're requests for Camp Quality to bring puppet shows to schools where kids are struggling. And it's not unusual for the demand to be so high that we struggle to meet all the requests for a puppet show within a reasonable timeframe. In fact, wait times can be far too long for distressed kids who are suffering after already going through so much, which is heartbreaking.
But thanks to Puppet Power, Sophie was able to have a 'normal' experience of school. She has good memories of school filled with fun and laughter. It is our aim to reach every child that needs this invaluable support.
“I love the puppets. My favourite is Mel. My friends stopped saying things about my hair and stuff after the puppets came to my school, so they made me really happy!”