We met in one of those places no one ever expects they will end up and no one ever wants to be, the parent kitchen in the oncology ward of the Royal Children’s Hospital. It was 2018 and both of our children were being treated for cancer.
Lochlan Howcroft was 7 and diagnosed with acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia Philadelphia Positive (ALL PH+) and Sienna Bakos was 2 years old with aggressive Burkitt’s Leukaemia.
The parents walking the halls of paediatric oncology hospitals form a special club and it’s in the dark hours of the night that the ideas, the hope, the better ways to do things are formed, and it was here where we discussed the first beginnings of Little Big Steps.
Before cancer, Lochie was an active and healthy 7-year-old. But with the grueling nature of his treatment, Cass noticed Lochie had become increasingly lethargic and inactive. He was moving less and less all the time and it was hard to encourage him out of bed.
For his birthday, Lochie received a fitness watch. The watch changed things.
Lochie changed from a child that didn’t want to leave his hospital room to a boy who was seeking out physical activity. He wanted to meet the goals and watch the progress on his new watch. The increase in movement did much more than just entertain him. We started to talk about the huge improvements in Lochie’s general condition and how he was coping with his cancer treatment. It was still awful, but he was doing better.
We then started to ask the question; how many other physically able oncology children would benefit from such a device?
The research was clear. There are positive benefits of exercise in cancer patients and the idea of improving the outcomes of children living with cancer with technology, programs and services was our new goal.
From this, we launched Little Big Steps in June 2018.