Mimi is celebrating a major milestone.
Skyler May Ebanks, better known as “Mimi,” will celebrate her fifth birthday on May 31, and her family wants to find a way to give back to the community that supported her during a bout with brain cancer.
Mimi, who is now cancer-free and will undergo an annual brain-scan at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, later this summer, wants to make life better for local children. That is why her family is sponsoring a new endeavor – Mimi’s Happy Cart – that will provide coloring books, crayons and other assorted toys and knickknacks for kids staying at the Health Services Authority Pediatric Ward and Clinic.
“It’s very hopeful,” said Mimi’s mother, Mechon Evangelista-Ebanks, of her upcoming birthday. “Our family has been through a lot in the past five years and paying it forward for us is very refreshing.
“The five-year mark is always a big milestone in the cancer journey. We want the community – who have been rallying behind us – to celebrate it with us and ultimately raise awareness.”
Mimi went through two brain surgeries and six rounds of chemotherapy while at St. Jude’s, and Ms. Evangelista-Ebanks said she is now a thriving young girl. Mimi had profound hearing loss as a result of chemotherapy, but she is doing well in occupational, speech and physical therapy.
Mimi currently attends Chatterbox Pre-School and is hoping to enroll in Lighthouse School in September.
“With everything she’s been through, she’s a miracle and an inspiration,” Ms. Evangelista-Ebanks said. “I know a lot of families that followed her story, but we haven’t done a lot of follow-ups from four years ago. We have a big network of family on island, but I know a lot of churches and other community groups were involved in her story four years ago. I wanted to give an update that she’s going to be fine.”
The Ebanks family was so touched by the generosity of the Cayman and St. Jude community, and Mimi’s Happy Cart is the way they want to give back.
“They had this Happy Cart that goes through the ward, and they had coloring books because children are confined to their rooms,” Ms. Evangelista-Ebanks said of St. Jude. “We want to launch the Happy Cart where there is little stuff – coloring books, crayons, craft stuff – that kids can enjoy while waiting for their doctor’s appointments. I think it’s a great opportunity for the community to be involved.”
The five-year anniversary of Mimi’s diagnosis will pass on July 17, and the family wants to encourage people to get health screenings so they can catch any maladies early in the process. They are so thankful for Mimi, and they want to give other families their best chance to confront their own conditions.
“Ultimately, she’s in remission,” said Ms. Evangelista-Ebanks of her daughter’s condition.
“And as we hit the five-year mark, we’re more optimistic.”
People can call Ms. Evangelista-Ebanks at 925-5940 or email the family at [email protected] if they would like to be a part of the endeavor.