Posted by Pat Garcia-Gonzalez on October 29, 2010
This week we were blessed with the opportunity to bring cheer and joy to children undergoing cancer treatment in Seattle. The evening was planned thoroughly: we would bring a craft activity to keep kids entertained, we would bring donated gifts for everyone (not really knowing how many kids would come, we prepared for 50 kids) and, we would bring a magician to put on a show.
Oh, the magician; I had forgotten what a magician can do for children! Having read the announcements of “Devin Reynolds, the Magician who would entertain the crowd this evening”, children of all ages were gathered around the cafeteria area at the Ronald Mc Donald House, impatiently waiting for the magician to set up.
Donated Halloween canvas bags and markers were displayed immediately to help parents and children alike contain their excitement about the magic to come. We had been given a mandate: to encourage the children to eat their dinner before they came to join the activities. So we did inquire and coached and convinced them to get some nutrients in and then join.
One little girl came to me, asked if I would help her approach the magician to sign her Halloween bag. I agreed and together we approached him. She was only so happy to explain to Devin that she was going home in three days (she signaled with her hand). She also told Devin that she hoped to grow up to be a magician! He happily obliged and signed and she went on to find a good spot to watch the show.
The next 30 minutes were true magic. Devin had the perfect mix of tricks that were appreciated by the children and jokes that were appreciated by the parents. And together we experienced the magic of smiling and forgetting; a moment when cancer was not on our mind and our jaws were tired from laughter.
Once he was done, he announced the last trick: “If you all stay frozen on your seat, the nice volunteers from The Max Foundation will come to you and give you a backpack and a gift inside”. Not knowing how many children would be there, their ages or gender, last week’s toy drive had collected all types of toys; we had placed them in the backpacks, and labeled them boy, girl, neutral. I must admit we were a little concerned with how would this go. Especially because earlier in the program, one little girl who saw the backpacks had already said “I want a boy toy”. “Oh dear”, I thought, “there is no way we can please everyone here”.
But again, it was magic, in 30 seconds or so all backpacks were given out, and everyone was playing and content with their toys.
Tired but so very satisfied, we left, grateful for the opportunity, grateful for the Edmonds community that had donated the toys, grateful for Devin and his magic, and grateful for the resilience of the children and parents at the Ronald McDonald House. We promised ourselves that we would come back soon.