From chemo to the red carpet

Cancer patients receive special ‘Minions’ outing

By: Victoria Mitchell | Royal Oak Review | Published August 4, 2015

 LaMya Currie, 10, attends a special screening of “Minions” July 24 at Emagine Royal Oak with her mother, Laresha Truit, 
of Detroit.

LaMya Currie, 10, attends a special screening of “Minions” July 24 at Emagine Royal Oak with her mother, Laresha Truit, of Detroit.

Photos by Deb Jacques

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ROYAL OAK — Walking the red carpet and enjoying a little “Minions” fun brought a deeper sense of gratitude to resident Katie Gott and her 3-year-old son, Henry.

For the Gott family, the July 24 morning outing at Emagine Royal Oak meant a break from chemo clinics and talks of cancer.

“It just gives us an opportunity for him to do things that we normally wouldn’t do,” Katie said. “This is his first movie.”

Henry is battling liver cancer and received an invitation to The Bottomless Toy Chest red carpet screening party of “Minions,” followed by a pizza party with crafts, face painting, a photo booth and other exciting surprises. About 17 patients and their families attended the event.

The Bottomless Toy Chest is a nonprofit organization devoted to delivering toys, crafts and hands-on activities to hospitalized pediatric cancer patients.

Founder and Executive Director Mickey Guisewite said that each year, the organization hosts a special patient red carpet outing at Emagine. The theater and entertainment complex donates the space and the film showing.

“We developed this event because we saw that it’s not just children that are going through cancer treatment and suffering. The family is suffering, too, and it’s very difficult,” she said. “We do this because we want to create a positive, empowering environment for the whole family, and this is a day to forget about cancer treatment and just have fun during a time when everything is off and not normal.”

Katie said that spending time with other parents in similar situations is comforting.

“It’s nice to know that people care, and that there are other people out there and that you are not alone,” she said. “I’ve learned through this that there are other really good people out there.”

The Bottomless Toy Chest visits seven major Michigan pediatric hospitals and one in Ohio. So far this year, the organization is on track to deliver more than 25,000 activities.

Guisewite said she came up with the idea after seeing the joy that a toy would bring to her son while he was receiving cancer treatments as a child. He is now in remission.

“During that time it was really difficult, and the toys really, really helped him refocus his attention off of the difficult cancer treatment and onto something fun that he could do and feel good about,” she said.

Madison Heights parent Jamie Morrison attended the event with her 4-year-old son, Eli.

“It’s nice to have a reassurance that you don’t have to worry about him being sick,” Jamie said. “And it’s nice to do something fun and exciting when he’s going through something like this and without all of that stress.”

It was Eli’s first movie, too.

Guisewite said she looks forward to future events and deliveries.

“We’re really a community program,” she said. “We’re The Bottomless Toy Chest only because of the bottomless support of our community.”

To learn more about The Bottomless Toy Chest, visit bottomlesstoychest.org.

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