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Thousands of Cat Owners Rally for Teen Cancer Patient

By Caroline Golon

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Imagine being in a hospital bed, far away from all the comforts of home, including the warm, furry reassurance of your family cat.

Maga Barzallo Sockemtickem, a 16-year-old cancer patient at the Seattle Children’s Hospital, has spent months in the hospital this year. She was desperately missing her cat Merry when the hospital staff decided to do something about it.

A special team got to work, creating what they dubbed the “Cat Immersion Project.” They asked hospital Facebook fans to post their favorite cat photos. The staff then used the photos – more than 3,000 – in a video they made for Maga.

It wasn’t just any video, though. This video was accompanied by soothing purring sounds recorded from real cats and the images were projected onto the walls of a makeshift tent surrounding Maga’s bed – a full “cat immersion.”

Maga was surprised and touched by the effort. “It makes me happy to see all these cats,” she says in the video. “Thank you!”

The cat photos came pouring from all over the globe. Dorian Wagner, of Deerfield Beach, Fla., is one of the cat owners who saw the request on Facebook and wanted to help. She posted photos of her cats, Pimp and Moo. “The video of her reaction to the cats was one of most heartwarming things I’ve ever watched,” Dorian says. “I’m so glad the simple act of sharing pictures of my two boys could create a special moment for such a special girl!”

The hospital’s effort to bring Maga a bit of kitty happiness paid off. As the teenager told the hospital’s blog, “You guys remind me that there is so much good in the world, and it just makes me feel so much better, and connected.”



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