BLANK SPACER

VIDEO: Victoria chalk fairy brings smiles to kids with cancer

Jamie Lee Hellard surprises pediatric cancer patients with custom chalk drawings on their birthdays

Last spring, University of Victoria student and varsity swimmer Jamie Lee Hellard was preparing to go to Olympic trials. Then, the pandemic hit, and with a sudden abundance of time Hellard made a decision that led to her nickname today – the chalk fairy.

Since May, Hellard has been partnering with Island Kids Cancer Association to create custom chalk creations for pediatric oncology patients on their birthdays and on the birthdays of their siblings.

She first found inspiration for her idea last Easter when she was trying to hatch up a way to make the holiday special for her one-year-old niece without getting too close physically. The resulting chalk drawing made Hellard’s niece so happy the UVic student thought there must be a way for her to spread that joy further.

“I really decided I was going to have to make a choice on whether to sit around and wait for COVID to pass or to take the opportunity to make someone’s life better,” Hellard said.

Choosing the latter, Hellard reached out to Island Kids and together they laid out a plan.

Family navigator, Tania Downey, would reach out to the parents of pediatric oncology patients, kids fighting cancer, and determine when the children’s birthdays were and what colours, animals and cartoons were their favourites.

Then, on the morning of the child’s birthday, Hellard would sneakily create her chalk drawing in front of their house. The kids would wake up to a special birthday surprise.

“It’s all about just putting a smile on their face, even if just for that moment,” said Downey who comes from an oncology family.

She explained how when one of your children is diagnosed with cancer, suddenly all that matters is living in the present moment. “It’s the little things that make a difference in these families lives,” Downey said.

Recalling one of her favourite drawings, Hellard said she was sneaking up to a house one morning when a woman and her son came walking out of the house.

Immediately, Hellard feared her surprise had been ruined, but the woman reassured her that the drawing was for her daughter, not her son.

Her son, a previous pediatric oncology patient, knew exactly what drawing his sister would want.

“He spent the next two hours with me showing me what he wanted done and crafting this perfect unicorn-cat for his sister based off his own cat,” said Hellard. “I just took direction from him and I think he made the drawing really special.”

Hellard is taking a break from being the chalk fairy over the fall and winters months, but hopes to return in the fall with a whole team of chalk fairies.


Do you have a story tip? Email: jane.skrypnek@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

jane.skrypnek@blackpress.ca

artistCancerGreater Victoria

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Jamie Lee Hellard — the chalk fairy — has used her spare time during the COVID-19 pandemic to surprise pediatric oncology patients with custom chalk drawings on their birthdays. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)

Just Posted

Sooke’s Paul Laroche gold snipes along Sooke River, a process in which he uses a mask and snorkel to find pieces of gold. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
Hitting the jackpot: Sooke man finds niche audience by gold-panning on YouTube

Paul Laroche, 29, with over 215,000 subscribers, opens up about his journey

Felix Townsin, shown here with his sister, Lexi, who died on Oct. 19, 2019. Felix is a big part of a family initiative aimed at finding a cure for Blau Syndrome. (Photo contributed by the Townsin family)
Quest to cure Blau syndrome a family affair

John Stubbs student produces film for late little sister Lexi

An untitled Emily Carr painting of Finlayson Point was donated to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria by brothers Ian and Andrew Burchett. The painting had been in their family for several decades. (Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria)
Newly public Emily Carr painting depicts well-known Victoria view

Painting among several donated to Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

Investigators seized sophisticated equipment including credit card embossers, credit card PIN machines, heavy duty printers and computers used to create fraudulent cards. (West Shore RCMP handout)
West Shore RCMP arrest two, find 1,000 pieces of stolen ID in Langford

Investigation began after fraudulent bank draft used to buy vehicle in Colwood

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps by 287, another senior home outbreak

Two more deaths recorded, community outbreak in Okanagan

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Oct. 27

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

MMFN First Nation has said that it will restrict access to portion of Highway 28 that passes through the Nation’s land until a road use agreement is reached. (Black Press file photo)
Vancouver Island First Nation blocks highway access to logging trucks in Gold River

Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation restricting access for Western Forest Products pending road deal

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
Rescued bald eagle that came to life in B.C. man’s car had lead poisoning

Bird is on medication and recovering in rehab centre

The B.C. Centre for Disease control is telling people to keep an eye out for the poisonous death cap mushroom, which thrives in fall weather conditions. (Paul Kroeger/BCCDC)
Highly poisonous death cap mushroom discovered in Comox

This marks first discovery on Vancouver Island outside Greater Victoria area

Cowichan Search and Rescue set up near the Silver Bridge in Duncan on Wednesday morning, Oct. 28, 2020 to rescue a dog from the Cowichan River. (Citizen file)
Cowichan Search and Rescue save dog from icy Cowichan River

Search and Rescue’s swiftwater team was called in

Premier-elect John Horgan and cabinet ministers are sworn in for the first time at Government House in Victoria, July 18, 2017. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)
Pandemic payments have to wait for B.C. vote count, swearing-in

Small businesses advised to apply even if they don’t qualify

A raccoon paid a visit to a Toronto Tim Hortons on Oct. 22, 2020. (shecallsmedrew/Twitter)
Who are you calling a trash panda? Raccoon takes a shift at Toronto Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons said animal control was called as soon they saw the surprise visitor

Most Read