COLUMBUS, Ga. — Five years ago a local grandmother lost her 21-month-old granddaughter to a rare cancer. Monday that child’s memory lives on through a ministry called Scarlett’s Closet.
Scarlett was born on August 9th, 2009, a pure fountain of joy to her family.
“I tell people all the time I wonder sometimes if she knew she didn’t have long to be here because she just did everything with such excitement and just full speed ahead. She did everything ahead of time. She was walking earlier than I’ve ever seen a child walk,” says Lisa Fountain.
20 months into her young life, Scarlett started showing signs of discomfort in her neck.
“We got her the next day to the ER at Columbus Regional. They did a CT scan and realized there was a mass,” says Lisa.
It was cancer. They immediately sent Scarlett to Egleston Children’s Hospital in Atlanta.
“We were there for about a week and a half, and it was discerned that the cancer was so rare they couldn’t even figure out what it was there at Egleston or Emory. So they sent the tissue to Boston,” says Lisa.
There it was determined to be a differentiated epithelioid sarcoma.
“There’s only ten cases diagnosed a year. To date there are no known survivors for this type of cancer, so it’s very, very rare,” says Lisa. “Unfortunately, she never left the hospital. She passed away at Egleston just about three weeks later.”
That was just over five years ago, but the memory of that precious little girl is being preserved through a ministry Lisa founded last year called Scarlett closet. It provides families who suddenly find themselves stuck at the hospital with a care bag filled with personal supplies.
“To date we have done 1,000 bags. And we just did our first delivery two months ago to Columbus Regional,” says Lisa.
The bags include everything from a toothbrush and toothpaste to shampoo, mints, gum, chapstick, a journal, and crossword puzzles.
“In these bags we’re able to put a Bible and cards with scripture on it,” says Lisa
Lisa prefers to stuff the bags alone.
“But it’s very personal for me. I pack the bags myself because I pray over every bag because I just want that bag to be filled with the love of Jesus, and a little part of Scarlett to me is in every bag. That’s very healing for me because this little girl who only lived 21 months fulfilled her purpose on this earth. But through these bags people that will never meet her have an awareness of who she is and how special she was to us.,” says Lisa.