my name is Poppy.
I am 11 years old. I live with my mum and my dad and my tabby cat, Alfred. My father is American and when he was in college he came to England as an exchange student to study for 2 years. That is how he met my mum. She was also a student. They fell in love and got married. My dad and mum stayed in England after they were married and 3 years later I was born. When I was 6 years old, my dad transferred his job back to America so that is how I came to live in Boston, Massachusetts.
My cat "Mister Alfred"
As soon as we moved here, my parents enrolled me in a brilliant school called Most Precious Blood of Jesus Catholic School. I love my school! I have many friends and fantastic teachers. I am in the 5th grade and math is my favorite subject.
Something happened to me that made me miss a year of school. When I thought about what I should write on my Catholic Kids 101 page, I decided I would tell you what happened to me during that year.
At the beginning of 2nd grade, when I was 7 years old, I started to feel tired. Even when I got lots of sleep I still felt tired. One day I was at school playing soccer. I was about to kick the ball when I suddenly felt so tired and weak I could hardly move. I had to sit right down on the ground and rest for a few moments before I could get up and walk again. I had never felt that way before.
I remember that night in bed I was trying to fall asleep but the bones in my legs and feet were aching. I couldn't sleep because it hurt so much. I was going to get up and ask my mum for some pain medicine but I felt too tired to get up! Sometime in the night I finally fell asleep.
The next morning I was about to tell my mum about my aching bones but before I could say anything she looked at me and said I had “sick eyes” and asked me what was wrong. I told her how I was feeling. Then I went and looked in the mirror to see what “sick eyes” look like. I thought my eyes looked exactly the same as they always did but mums are pretty smart when it comes to noticing things about their children. Don’t you think?
Anyway, she took me to see the doctor and then he sent me to another doctor and then that doctor sent me to another doctor who was a special kind of doctor that helped really sick children. I found out I was really sick. My sickness had to do with my blood. I had a sickness called Leukemia. My blood was sick. Leukemia is a cancer of the person’s white blood cells. The “sick” white blood cells form in a person’s bone marrow. They quickly travel throughout the body and crowd out the healthy blood cells. This raises the person’s chances of getting really sick with an infection and other problems. Without healthy blood our organs, like our heart and lungs, don’t get the oxygen and help they need to work right. We need healthy blood to fight infections. We need healthy blood to stay warm. Our blood is really important. Blood is life!
To get better I had to have treatments called chemotherapy for one year to try get rid of the sickness in my blood.
The treatments were really hard. They made me feel really sick. I threw up a lot. (I don’t know about you but I really don’t like to throw up.) And the treatments made all my hair fall out. I was bald.
So this is the part of my story that I really want every person reading my page to know about. This is super important and I hope you never forget it. The reason is that even if you don’t get really sick like I did, every single person in the world will have something, some time in their life, that will be hard for them. We can choose to complain and get really angry about it or we can choose another way. The other way is to go through the hard time with Jesus. He truly understands. Jesus went through lots of hard times, especially when He suffered and died on the Cross for us. Our hard times by themselves are really awful! But if we give our hard times to Jesus, He takes them as precious gifts. He unites them to His sufferings and then they are not awful anymore. Then they become something meaningful because it was through the precious Blood of Jesus being shed, through His death on the Cross, that Jesus saved us from our sins. He lets us be a part of helping Him in His mission as Savior of the world!
Here is the picture on the prayer card I had with me in the hospital that I kept by my bed:
When I was sick, every single day my dad and mum would go to Mass early in the morning and receive Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. They would ask Jesus to heal me. Then one day when I was about half way through my chemotherapy treatments, my pastor, Father Michaels, brought me Jesus in the Holy Eucharist! He said that since I had already made my First Confession with my class right before I got sick, I could make my First Holy Communion! I was so happy!
When Father came to my hospital room, he took out a small, round, shiny gold holder called a pyx. When he opened the top, there was Jesus looking like Bread! Since I was so sick, he gave me just a tiny piece of the Host to eat. Did you know that no matter what size the Host is, very tiny or very big, Jesus is totally and completely present in that piece of consecrated Host? It’s true!
Here is one of the things I said to Jesus after I received Him in Holy Communion for the first time: “Dear Jesus, I know you are really present in this little piece of Host – Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. Please Jesus, will You have Your healthy Blood go into my sick blood and make me well again?"
Guess what? When I had my chemotherapy treatment later that day, I never got sick from it! I never threw up. I never felt tired. I felt really good. I was so happy!
For the rest of my treatments, Father Michaels would often come and bring me Jesus. Every time I received Jesus, I would pray the same way: “Please have Your healthy Blood go into my sick blood, dear Jesus, and make me well again.” Sometimes I did get sick from my treatments. And some days were much harder than others. But by the time I finished my chemotherapy treatments, I was well again! My blood was healthy! I felt so good. I was able to go back to school. And soon I was playing soccer again!
My year of being sick wasn’t easy but Jesus and I got through the hard times together. As I grow up, no matter what happens in my life, I know He will always be there to help me. I know that, if you ask Him, He will always be there to help you too.
I’ll end my Catholic Kids 101 page with an explanation of my picture. I’ll put it here again so you can see:
I wanted to have my picture taken in this field of flowers. Do you know what kind of flowers these are? These flowers are called poppies. Yes, just like my name: Poppy. I love my name because when I look at these beautiful flowers they remind me of the Precious Blood of Jesus. His Blood is precious. His Blood takes away our sins. His Blood is healing. His Blood gives us life. We receive His precious Blood when we receive Him in Holy Communion. I hope you are able to receive Jesus in Holy Communion often! Here are the words to an old hymn my Nana taught me:
What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the Blood of Jesus!
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the Blood of Jesus!
Oh, precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the Blood of Jesus!
Thank you for reading my Catholic Kids 101 page.
P.S. As you can see, all my hair did grow back. And then some!
Poppy's Favorite Bible Story
One day a man named Jairus came to Jesus. "My little girl is sick. Come and help her." Jesus came to his house. The people at the house said, "She is dead." Jesus took the little girl by the hand and said, "Talitha Koum!" That means, "Little girl, I say to you, arise!" The girl opened her eyes and sat up. She was so happy because Jesus was with her!
Jesus is God. Jesus can do all things. Jesus will always be with us and help us in the very best way if we ask Him. You can read this story in your Bible in the Gospel of Saint Luke, chapter 8, the Gospel of Saint Matthew, chapter 9 and the Gospel of Saint Mark, chapter 5.