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The Story of Sydney Boyer
I remember hearing for the first time in girl scouts that we were going to make 1,000 cranes for a P.E. teacher's daughter who had cancer in early 2009. Their was 18 girls in my troop, and 1,000 was a lot. We were only 5th graders, and their were 4 leaders that would help us, but still 1,000? It's a Japanese good luck charm, you could say. Millions of japanese make 1,000 cranes themselves, only one person each. So we were determinded to make 1,000 cranes for this girl I've never heard of before.
We didn't just make cranes, we made crafts for the Seattle Children's hospital for tweens and teens our age. Our leader said, "Little kids get teddy bears all the time, what would you want in the hospital?" We made pies and cookies as snacks, tons of them. We spent hours gluing little pieces of craft to bigger pieces. We didn't just make crafts, we recorded books that we knew 6-year-olds or younger would love, like Puss and Boots.
It took months to do all of this, we only saw each other once a week, and we were trying to earn a huge badge. The girl who had cancer, I never knew her name because her dad was a P.E. teacher of a different elementary school that I didn't go to. Later I learned her name was Sydney Boyer. Well, finally everything was done in June 2009.
On June 30th, 2009 we drove 2 1/2 hours from our town to Seattle's Children's Hospital. We went into parking lot Elephant and walked in, realizing then we entered on the wrong floor. We delivered the snacks, and were told not to look into any rooms, don't stair or talk to any patients that we might see walk or wheeled by. Don't look around too much, and stay together, no wondering. I was scared by this. I picked two girls to walk with in my troop and we took the rocket elevator. The floors were colorful and walls were painted different things, like beach or mexican.
A man guided us through the whole hospital, the church, the outside where kids can "play", the tennis court, why different rooms were painted different themes, why the parking lots were named different things, where the helicopters landed if someone was in life endagerment, the fake animals that were all over the hospital, and more I can't remember-maybe because my mind doesn't want to.
After we were done delivering everything but the cranes, we went to the Ronald McDonald House. It felt like we walked into a hotel. Their was a front desk and everything. Their was a lady with a golden retriever sitting on a couch, and we pet him and talked to the lady, "He's here to calm down the children when they come in." I looked at him, he just sat there. Their was nothing calming about it, and I remember getting angry about this. I remember thinking, "I'd rather have a cat to lay on me and purr than a stupid dog just sitting there."
I remember asking the leaders if we were going to see Sydney, or get a tour of the Ronald McDonald House like we did the hospital. She said, "Probably not, she's not in right now. Also, this is like their home, and we can't intrude on that. Their living here between treatments and we can't just walk in on them." She never answered, "no" to either of those questions.
On that day we never met Sydney, and later I found out we didn't make 1,000 cranes, we made 1,200 cranes and apparently we can't count. I remember hating the hospital, it was for babies and little kids, that's what I thought. I remember looking around at all the stupid things that were supposed to keep kids calm during their visit. I remember thinking I would hate it there if I had to visit and live there. It's sad, but true.
The summer went on, school started for me in 6th grade. I went to the middle school Sydney Boyer went to when she got diagnosed cancer. Her mom was the health teacher of that school but was out helping her daughter with treatments in Seattle.
On November 2, 2009 I remember seeing a girl in a wheelchair that I had never seen before. I remember asking my friend Chasity, "Who's that?" "That's Sydney Boyer." "Oh." Her? I saw her surrounded by friends, all talking to her at once. I could see her happy. She had hair, which I wouldn't expect. Later my friends talked about her.
"I don't think that's her real hair."
"She's had cancer for 10 months, that's a wig."
"I know it's a wig, it's too long to be her real hair." She was wearing a shoulder length blond hair wig.
The next day she was bald. You wouldn't believe this but I actually googled the name, "Sydney Boyer" to learn more about her. I saw a bunch of fundraisers in the town I lived in months before. Then I saw a blog, and it had a website that I could get more information on her, and more updates.
I found it, and it was amazing. Pictures, blog, a place where I could have my say, everything. Her mom put on there that Sydney recently went in the Seattle Space Neetle and got interviewed by a real news reporter. I clicked on the link, and there it was. I signed up to the blog so I got to write comments, and then it where it all truly started.
I started to post regular things on her website telling what was going on. In my opinion it would have been anoying, but I still did it. I would say stupid stuff, like, "they moved around the lunch tables today" or "I hope you had a good day at school".
On November 7th, 2009 she started using a walker, and I saw her wearing a red curly wig that reminded me of my doll with her pale skin. I didn't tell her that though. I walked up to her, and asked her, "What's your name?" "Sydney." Duh, I knew that, but wouldn't it be creapy if I just walked up to her and said, "Hey, I know your name is Sydney Boyer, I know that you had cancer, and I know that you have a website all to yourself?" If someone said that to me, I would be pretty creeped out.
We talked a little, it was always right after lunch going to our next class. I didn't want to bother her when she was with her friends. I saw her in the halls all the time, and her 6th period class was right across from my locker, so I would see her then to. At one point I invited her to a slumber party. What was I thinking?
I would notice when she didn't come to school because she wouldn't be with her friends sitting at her "normal" table at lunch. I knew she wouldn't always be at school, she wasn't "cured" yet. She started walking on her own with a cane, I liked that. Then in early December she took a fall and broke something in her cancer leg(she had bone cancer, osteosarcoma). I was worried, and glad when she came back to school.
Later I started e-mailing her mom, the health teacher of the school I went to. I started talking to her, and she did get the 1,200 cranes and had it in her room the last few months of treatment. Her mom was still out and not working, so I never saw her.
After a while of e-mailing, I went back to Sydney's website on January 25th, 2009 and saw that it said she was going to the other middle school by the next semaster. At first I blamed myself, "She's going to the other middle school because of me" is what I told myself. Later I read the website and it said that was the school she was supposed to go to, but didn't because her mom wanted to "protect" her.
On Feburary 3rd, 2010 Mrs. Boyer(her mom) was now my health teacher. She didn't treat me different, only the first day when she called my name for attentance she said, "Okay," and only her eyes looked up to see me.
Near the end of the year with her, I wrote a letter that said that I was sorry, but I won't stop looking on her website because I am not giving up over 60 hours of work that I made 1,200 cranes for Sydney.
I never saw Sydney again in person. I can't forget about her, who could? She's a cancer survivor and I knew her, how could I forget her?
It was September 30th, 2011, and I found her on facebook through another friend. I tried asking for a friend request, I was actually expecting her to deny it. After all I made her go through...she accepted it. I thanked her, and she just said, "Oh, sure." I hope you're doing better Sydney Boyer.