Patient-designed bags support HomeGoods’ “Help Families Fight Cancer” campaign

cancer patient stories

Seventeen-year-old Evan Yu loves to draw and enjoys outdoor activities such as kayaking and fishing. Combining his love for the ocean and art, Evan designed a beautiful underwater scene for one of two bags available this year to purchase in HomeGoods stores nationwide. Proceeds from the purchase of each bag support HomeGood’s “Help Families Fight Cancer” campaign benefiting Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund.

Diagnosed in early December 2014, Evan and his family originally believed it was rock climbing that was causing the pain he had begun experiencing. However, Evan’s pain got progressively worse, and he eventually spiked a fever, unable to get out of bed.  He was subsequently sent to the hospital, where an oncology team met with the family to share the terrible news. Evan was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), a quickly progressing disease in which too many abnormal white blood cells are found in the bone marrow.

Evan spent six weeks in the hospital and soon began making weekly visits to Dana-Farber’s Jimmy Fund Clinic. Despite the battle Evan and his family were facing, Evan’s mother, Melissa Yu, describes the experience with the clinic as “unbelievably amazing.”

“We actually looked forward to clinic visits,” said Melissa. “We knew Evan would be taken care of and we felt safe and comfortable there.  We got to know much of the staff; even those who didn’t directly treat Evan knew him. We also made friends with other families.”

This past January, Evan achieved a milestone: he successfully completed treatment for ALL. Now, as a junior at Brookline High School, Evan is making plans for his future and deciding between two tracks of study; medical genetics or engineering. Having Evan’s design featured at HomeGoods is simply another tremendous accomplishment.

As the Yu family reflects on the last several years, they are very thankful. Melissa sums up their experience, stating “How lucky are we to be so close to the BEST care in the world? One word: VERY!”

“Just thinking of what an impact the sale of the bag can make for Dana-Farber is quite astounding,” says Melissa. “I am proud of Evan and grateful for Dana-Farber and HomeGoods.”

The second bag, created by another patient in Dana-Farber’s Jimmy Fund Clinic, features a purple floral design, which complements Evan’s bag perfectly.

Ali Murphy
Account Manager/Writer, Development Communications