Most of us who are a certain age or had girls of a certain age will know of the book series and the movie ‘The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants’.
So when I found a website called Stage 4 Travelling pants I was intrigued. Shannon took the inspiration from the original “travelling pants” and created a way to support her sister Stephanie who was diagnosed at the age of 30 with stage 4 (secondary/metastatic) breast cancer. Through different forums they had made contact with other young women with Stage 4 breast cancer and Shannon came up with the idea of creating a tangible link between these women spread accross the United States. Using an old pair of Stephanie’s jeans she sent them out for the other women to autograph and decorate. I left a comment that I thought it was a great idea and what a pity they couldn’t come to New Zealand. I only just fit the criteria as they are targetting under 50 year olds – women in their 20s, 30s and 40s. After conversing with Shannon via email we sorted out that we could get them here
They also travel with cards and letters from the other signees so between the pants and the messages it is a very tangible link to fellow stage 4 sisters.
They arrived the week of ODs wedding so I didnt have much of a chance to do anything with them until after those activities and also study etc for my exam on the 18th June happened.
After my exam though I had the opportunity of taking them to our mid-winter Sweet Louise meeting and got my fellow younger Sweet Loiuse members to sign them. I was invited to get up in front of the meeting and give a little talk about how they had come to be in New Zealand and 3 of them as well as me signed and I decorated the jeans with an adhesive paua outline of New Zealand and the Sweet Louise phone tag.
A couple of days after this I had arranged to meet up with my chemo buddy J who I had mentioned in this post. She had been on 3 weekly chemo and I had been on weekly but every 3 weeks we would try and catch up with each other. We had intended to catch up at a shopping mall but instead I visited her in the oncology ward (ward 64) that I had spent so much time in with my infections. I thought while I had made plans to jump on the train and go to the shopping mall to see her I may as well take the train that little bit further and visit her in the hospital. I took the pants in with me and she autographed them and was really glad to be part of it and it took her mind off the fact that she was in hospital and not spending time with her husband and kids.
I think these pants are a very tangible way of being connected to other women all around the world – if you are a Stage 4 BC woman reading this who is under 50 and want to be added to the travels of these pants get hold of Shannon at the website http://stage4travelingpants.com/ and see if they can visit you.
I still have to catch up with another couple of younger stage 4 women I know and get their imprint on the pants and then I will post them on, not back to the States but to Wales, UK to a woman there. I will send them with notes from myself and others here and also a copy of the Sweet Louise ‘Oysters for Lunch’ book. These pants are truly becoming international travelling pants..