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5-Year-Old Fighting Cancer Makes Friends with Hospital Staff Across Street Using Sticky Note Art

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A hospital stay can be a scary and lonely time, especially if you’re a child fighting cancer during a pandemic. You have to be very careful where you go and who you see — but some patients have come up with a fun way to bond with others and have fun without any risk: by making sticky-note artwork on the windows.

Meet Meyer Mixdorf, a 5-year-old from Siloam Springs, Arkansas, who helped create some window art during a stay at Children’s Mercy Kansas City, in Missouri. The boy was diagnosed with brain cancer in late 2020 and spent time at the hospital receiving treatment.

It all started because his parents wanted to cheer Meyer up during his stay. He was separated from his siblings, couldn’t meet other patients and had just had a difficult operation, so his parents used sticky notes to make a smiley face on the hospital window.

The next day, across the way, another smiley face appeared on a window, winking back. It only escalated from there.

First came an onslaught of emojis, then the designs grew more elaborate. Mario, Iron Man, Batman, Minions and more appeared one after the other on the windows as the days passed.

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“It was a really entertaining, uplifting activity that Meyer looked forward to,” Liz Mixdorf, Meyer’s mom, told Fox News.

It was Johnna Schindlbeck, who worked for Truman Medical Centers across the street, who’d answered the artistic call with the help of some coworkers.

Schindlbeck didn’t know who was behind the post-it note art at Children’s Mercy until she saw a thank-you sign posted in the window for her, signed “Mom,” and realized it must be a young patient. Neither she nor the Mixdorf family knew who was on the other side of the artwork, but their mystery friendship blossomed.

Meyer would change rooms, but it was clear where he’d been moved to because a new piece of art would pop up. And on July 9, he and his mom went to see if they could meet the mystery friend.

“Meet Cheryl, Johnna and Grace,” a post on the “Prayers for Meyer” Facebook page read.

“Meyer’s mystery window friends! These women brought so many smiles to Meyer, and to us as well. They brought sunshine to our hospital days when they had no clue who Meyer was or what he was battling.

“What selfless love. I may have teared up a bit meeting them.”

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Liz wasn’t the only one with tears in her eyes during the meeting.

“I knew it was him as soon as I saw him and just started crying,” Schindlbeck, who has lost two brothers to cancer, said. “I think Liz and I just both had tears.”

“That was kind of a personal connection for me. I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, I really, I really feel for him and his family,’ because I know what that feels like to have to walk away at the end of the day or, you know, whatever the case is and you’re just relying on the hospital staff taking care.”

The Mixdorf family got the news they’d been waiting for on July 13: Meyer was cancer-free and could go home.

“It is still with teary eyes that we praise the Lord for His mercy,” a post on July 14 from the “Prayers for Meyer” Facebook page read.

“Last night at 8:30pm the oncologist called us and informed us that the MRI results were in, and Meyer’s brain and spine are currently CANCER FREE. Meyer literally jumped in the air and exclaimed ‘YES!’ when we told him about the scans and that we will be heading HOME this weekend. Many happy tears of praise. Let that soak in for a second.”

While no one wants to experience what the Mixdorf family has, the friendship and the fun game between them and Schindlbeck helps sweeten the memory.

“Kindness really does go a long way,” Liz said. “And I’m learning to be grateful for the little things.”

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking