When children are diagnosed with cancer or a terminal disease, those who love them often feel powerless. But a United Methodist congregation in Ohio has found a way to empower sick children and wrap them in prayer. Kids Capes of Courage allow children to be brave in struggle.
(Locator: Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio)
Jenny Bonsky: “When she got that cape, she thought it was the greatest thing in the world! She thought she was a superhero and she was running around with it!”
Three-year-old Elise Bonsky’s sweet spirit hides the difficulties she faces from Alexander’s Disease--a genetic condition that currently has no cure. Her mother Jenny says sick children crave something positive.
Jenny Bonsky, Recipient, Kids Capes of Courage: “They’re more than just fabric sewn together. It’s hope in a day or it’s a smile; it’s something that they’re able to have that isn’t a constant reminder of what they’re dealing with.”
Kids Capes of Courage, a ministry of Northampton United Methodist Church in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, sews special custom gifts for children facing tough times.
(Sounds of sewing)
The project’s founder, Debby Rowland, felt God encouraging her to comfort kids.
Debby Rowland, Founder, Kids Capes of Courage: “When you go down to Children’s Hospital and you see those kids that are so ill. They’ve lost all their hair and ….If I can give them a smile and just something fun to have, we’ve been successful.”
(Monica to class) “Does anyone know what courage means?”
Debby’s daughter Monica Moyer helps her distribute capes, like these to schoolchildren with challenges.
(Monica to little girl) “Oh my gosh, you look beautiful!”
Monica Moyer, Kids Capes of Courage: “People really like the fact that the kids get courage from it. I mean, every kid wants to be a superhero. My kids ran around with towels tied around their neck. So this just gives these kids something to feel good about.”
Fourteen-year-old Codey Montecalvo credits his cape with helping him recover from bone cancer.
Codey Montecalvo, Recipient, Kids Capes of Courage:
“My cape is wonderful! It is like purple and it has orange and it’s magical! And it has like the coolest looking patterns.”
(Pastor leading prayer) “…kids would have one more moment of laughter in their lives…”
Tish Rowland, Kids Capes of Courage: “We always say a prayer before we start a cutting session. And we have set up actual prayer times that we pray for those children.”
(Debby to volunteers) “Those will be cut out…”
The group has distributed over 1,000 capes to the local children’s hospital, an oncology unit, and to some kids in foster care. Jenny Bonsky so appreciated the capes for her and Elise that she now sews capes for other children.
Jenny Bonsky: “I cried and prayed for the little kid that would be receiving them because you know they’re going through so much.”
Dozens of her co-workers decided to join the effort.
Lindsey Wilkinson, Volunteer, Kids Capes of Courage: “It’s so powerful to see how it affected Jenny and Elise and how important it was to them. You just know you have to get involved.”
Volunteers like 12-year-old Emma McSparren saw the magic in the capes and offered to sew.
Emma McSparren, Volunteer, Kids Capes of Courage: “My brother got a cape because he was really nervous about going to therapy because he has OCD. And he picked a design with monsters on it because he felt like he was defeating his own monsters by doing this.”
Denise Duffy, Volunteer, Kids Capes of Courage: “Making the capes, it pretty much saved me. My husband passed away two years ago. Even though I am by myself, you don’t feel alone. You feel part of something.”
The Rev. Keith McLaughlin, Northampton United Methodist Church:
“The fact that we’re going out into the community and doing stuff for people who may never walk in the walls of this church, I think it speaks to our heritage and who we are as United Methodists in great measure.”
Learn more about Kids' Capes of Courage and September's Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
This video was produced by United Methodist Communications in Nashville, Tennessee.
Media contact is Joe Iovino, [email protected].
This video was first posted in April, 2015.