A small act of kindness at Karmanos Cancer Institute makes a big difference in patients' lives

Posted at 1:27 PM, Jan 06, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-06 15:00:36-05

LANSING, Mich. — A mid-Michigan woman is sharing her superpower with cancer patients at Karmanos Cancer Institute at McLaren Greater Lansing.

She doesn’t want her identity revealed and wants to be known simply as the Post-it Note Lady.

For the last year, the Post-it Note Lady has been going through cancer radiation and leaving positive notes all around the cancer institute.

“I found out that it wasn't just helping me. It was helping others. And so every day during my radiation, I was making them, and it helped me through the surgery and the radiation," she said. "And then handing them out when no one was around made me feel good."

She navigated the hospital with the help of nurse Kaytee Ivison.

“The way she told it to me is, 'Kaytee, this isn't about me. This is about the cards. This is about the people I'm helping,'" Ivison said.

Patients like Lisa Whitte, who was undergoing radiation for breast cancer, felt inspired by the uplifting messages.

“The last week of radiation, I wanted to give up so badly because it hurt," Whitte said. "And I just kept looking at those notes every time before I came in. I kept looking at those notes going, you know, five more days. You can do this. You can do this. You can do this. It's almost over!”

When the Post-it Note lady finished her final treatment, she asked Katie if she could still visit the hospital to drop-off notes and if Ivison would distribute them.

Ivison agreed and nominated her as a Good Neighbor.

“The Post-it Note Lady makes a Good Neighbor because she's just doing this out of the kindness of her heart," Ivison said. "And it's not something that takes a lot of time or effort, but it means so much to many people.”

Ivison says the patient's reactions were so positive she wanted to show the Post-it Note Lady the difference her small act of kindness was making.

Even though the Post-it Note Lady wanted to remain anonymous, she did agree to a meeting with a patient. That’s when Ivison contacted Whitte and organized a meeting.

When Whitte met her, she said, “I know they weren't for me, but I pretended they were just a few minutes."

The Post-it Note Lady disagreed.

“They were for you. They were. Gosh, you give me this all-over good feeling. And I'm glad I could help you in your time of need,” she said.

The Post-it Note Lady is hoping the notes help many people.

"Because cancer is very hard. Radiation is even harder, and it's a lonely time because you're the only one you see going through it. And if one of my cards brought some happiness or just gave them a chance to forget, I'm so glad I was able to do that," she said. "And you know what? They don't need to see my face. They don't.”

The Post-it Note Lady says you never may know what a positive difference you can make in someone’s life, but small acts of kindness can go a long way.

Whitte agrees.

“I'm going to take what you did for me, and I'm going to pass it along to somebody else,” Whitte said.

We want to say thank you to the Post-it Note Lady, who is continuing her journey to brighten someone else’s day.

You are this week’s Good Neighbor.

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