Always look for light in the darkness

Families struggling with the illness of a loved one can experience a range of emotions. Among them, in the case of the McIntyre family in Williamstown, was determination and a desire to help others.

When Mike McIntyre needed a port in his upper chest for delivery of chemotherapy to try to fight his cancer, his 17-year-old son, Elijah, noticed how uncomfortable his father appeared to be when trying to wear a seat belt.

A port pillow was available to him, but it still put pressure on the sensitive area around the port. Elijah thought he could do better — could help his dad and others experiencing the same discomfort.

So he designed a better port pillow. It worked. Then, with the help of his mother, Shelly, they produced 150 more of them as part of an Eagle Scout Service Project.

“There’s a generic type of pillow with Velcro straps,” said Susie Black, a nurse at Strecker Cancer Center at Memorial Health System. “But the McIntyres have designed a better device, with a concave section that sort of cradles the port. Everybody who’s gotten one is really appreciative.”

It is a thought that comforts Mike McIntyre, who has now been told by doctors his only hope lies in remission.

“It’s just made me joyful that he’s done something to help other people with cancer.”

Bravo to Elijah and the rest of his family for finding a way to help others through their own difficult time.

They are proof that even in what seems like a very dark situation, there can be light.