May I tell you about grey socks? If you have spent time in the ER or inpatient at a hospital, you know about non-slip grey socks. I hate them. All the things about them; the battleship grey color, the uneasy feeling of knowing the socks hosted a previous occupant, the ill-fitting one-size-fits-all sensibleness of them, and the mildly gritty feel of over-washed and reused socks. Nine years out of treatment for osteosarcoma, they still impart a kind of PTSD that makes me physically ill. It may sound dramatic to have a visceral reaction to a pair of socks who are just trying to do their job and keep me safe. As any kid with osteosarcoma will affirm, these disagreeable foot coverings are more anxiety-producing than most anything. They are donned at the start of a day that will feature highly toxic chemotherapies, scans, finger pokes, port access, and seeing your loved ones look upon your bed with a smile that belies the fear and sorrow your disease is causing them. What Makes It Better? A day of grey sock wearing also means time to create art and enjoy visits from family, friends, and therapy pets. Due to COVID19, that good part is gone. Now only one parent is allowed in the hospital, there are no strolling ukulele players or art and pet therapy, as a weak immune system is as common as grey socks for OsteoWarriors. COVID has been tough for kids with cancer; demand for our patient programs has increased while the donations that keep MIB going have decreased by over 70%. In the meantime, our research initiatives and education programs have expanded to bring the experts and patient families together virtually through weekly webinars, podcasts, and education materials. Nine years ago, I got to take off the dreaded grey socks and leave the hospital, hopefully for good. My own socks and now -even shoes – are on a mission with our 200+ volunteers, passionate team, researchers, and scientists who are dedicated to the mission to improve the state, treatment, and lives of kids with osteosarcoma. Grey-sock wearing OsteoWarriors need our help. We know who needs help and how to help. We need you to keep us going. Thank you for using your powers for good. It matters greatly.
Ann Graham & Agents President