Small Gestures are HUGE to Children with Cancer

Vivian at window

Vivian and Dad looking out of her hospital window (Photo: KSDK)

A group of construction workers from the project made headlines after they sent a get well message to a toddler in a children’s hospital next to their construction site. Although it was a small gesture, it had a huge impact on the life of one two-year-old girl named Vivian Keith.

Sometimes, what’s built isn’t in the blueprints. Case in point, the campus renewal project at Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals.

We got up about 3 floors and we could see the kids waving in the windows,” explains ironworker Travis Barnes.

Barnes and Greg Combs have a combined 35 years of experience in construction. They’ve worked together on dozens of sites but there were moments on this project when they had to put down the spud wrench.

“You kind of lose sight of it,” Combs told us. “Then something will happen and you will remember where you’re at.

What happened was one little girl on the other side of one of those windows at Children’s hospital.



Every morning we woke up and waved to them. And we had to wave until somebody waved back,” recalls Ginger Keith.

For her 2 1/2 year-old daughter Vivian, those waves were a therapy that helped her forget the chemotherapy. This past winter, her family got the heartbreaking news that Vivian had Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL).

I thought I was losing my little girl,” Ginger said through tears.

ALL is a cancer that affects the white blood cells, the ones that fight infection and help protect the body against disease.

Vivian has spent a lot of time on the ninth floor at St. Louis Children’s hospital and most of that time has been in isolation.

So the doors remain closed,” Ginger explains. “People come in with gowns and gloves and masks.

So Vivian’s only way out, was to look out.

Then, on a day that was tougher than most, Vivian and her mom went to the window and instead of waving they saw the iron workers pointing.

Construction workers wrote this message on a beam they lifted past her window.(Photo: KSDK)

Construction workers wrote this message on a beam they lifted past her window.(Photo: KSDK)


Written on one of the beams were the words, “Get Well Soon”. The little girl in the window had become a smelter, for hearts.

I was thinking about my own kids,” said an emotional Combs. “And how precious life is and everything you know.

Strangers becoming friends, even though they’d never met. And then, they finally did.

Now that she’s out of isolation, Travis and Greg got to visit with their inspiration.

They exchanged hugs and gifts and though Vivian was being shy, her mom says the meeting had meaning.

It was amazing. It was just an amazing day for her,” Ginger told us.

It makes me happy that something so simple like that could make somebody’s day better,” said Combs.

Construction workers are known as tough guys but even they know they’re not as tough as this little girl.

“It touches you. It sets you back for a minute. You realize how good your own life is,” Barnes said.

Vivian’s recovery is still under construction but she is feeling better thanks in part to two new friends and a room with a view.

I thank them so much for making Vivian’s visit so much better, “Ginger said.


“Kindness to children, love for children, goodness to children ~
these are the only investments that never fail.”
~ Henry David Thoreau ~



About LFCT

CHILDHOOD CANCER and CHILDHOOD CANCER AWARENESS Little Fighters Cancer Trust is a non-profit organisation that offers support and aid to Children with Cancer and their families. When a child is diagnosed with cancer it affects the whole family. One of the parents, usually the mother, must give up their job to care for the child and this creates financial problems for the family. In South Africa especially the majority of these families are not well-to-do; many of them are rural. A diagnosis of cancer can wipe out any family’s finances, let alone a poor family. The costs of special medications, special diets, hospital stays, transport to and from the hospital or clinic and accommodation and food costs for the mother who spends most of the time at her child’s bedside are astronomical. These are the people and problems that fall through the cracks, and these are the people that Little Fighters Cancer Trust has pledged to help in any way possible. LFCT takes a holistic approach to assisting the Children with Cancer and their Families, with the main aim to be the preservation of individual dignity and pride. Little Fighters Cancer Trust also focuses on promotion and advocacy of National Childhood Cancer Awareness in an effort to increase awareness of Early Warning Signs of Childhood Cancer. This would result in earlier diagnosis, giving the Child with Cancer more of a chance at Treatment and Survival. See "About" for more Background info

Posted on 19 December, 2015, in Blog, Videos and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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