After her four-year-old daughter Tylo lost her hair from chemotherapy, Leslie Wyers came up with an ingenious way to help her child feel more comfortable going to the hospital for treatment—by encouraging Tylo to dress up in costumes.
This 4-year-old with cancer dresses up in costumes for her doctor appointments – and all 75 of her princess dresses were donated by strangers. Now, her mom wants to pay it forward 💖 https://t.co/tLrNWCI8FB pic.twitter.com/Bb0MlizXRe— CBS News (@CBSNews) November 6, 2019
“I realized that I needed to change the focus from what she had lost and change the dynamics of her hospital experience,” Wyers said.
Tylo was diagnosed with leukemia in late July. Although her prognosis is good, she will have to endure more than two years of chemotherapy.
Wyvers explained that when she saw Tylo try and brush her bald head, she knew she had to switch the narrative. She got Tylo a Rapunzel costume, thinking that dressing up would be a fun distraction from the hardships of treatment.
Wearing the costume was more than a fun distraction for Tylo—she actually seemed to change her demeanor.
“When we walked onto that unit it was like she was a different person. She had so much boldness and so much bravery,” Wyers said.
“It was just really impressive because the procedures that normally would cause her to cry didn’t this time. And she was so proud of herself […] she was filled with joy.”
Staff at Edmonton’s Stollery Children’s Hospital, where Tylo receives her treatments, were on board with Tylo’s costumes. They also saw that dressing up for her appointments made Tylo feel more confident.
Wyvers was blown away by how much wearing a costume changed the hospital experience for her daughter, and she wanted to create a platform where other kids with cancer could benefit from what quickly became a large collection of children’s costumes. The service is called Joy Again. For free, children with cancer can go on the website and get their own costume to wear to treatment.
“If they could get any of the experience that Tylo got out of it, then that is now my focus,” Wyvers said. “That is what I want for those other kids.”