Like any child reared on ‘90s Disney movies, I thought having a woodland creature as a best friend was something I could expect. My childhood home has a decent plot of woods in the backyard where deer, birds, and the occasional rabbit were always stopping by to lie down in a warm patch of sunlight. I assumed (incorrectly) that birds and mice would come help me get dressed in the morning and be my friends à la Cinderella and Snow White. Never mind that whenever a mouse appeared in our actual house, my mother would scream bloody murder. Or that when we were spotting a mouse a day in my college apartment, we thought for a second “hold on, these lil guys could be our confidantes and stylists!” I still dreamed of my very own Gus Gus, faithful friend, lover of food kernels twice his size, and mortal enemy of Lucifer the cat.
Needless to say, I never got my rodent pet/friend, nor any of the other exotic creatures I requested as pets throughout the years — hermit crabs, hedgehogs, newts….there may have been a brief tarantula phase I’ve since blocked out. But you know who did? Drew Barrymore’s daughters. Thanks to this new video from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for Take 5 Together #forStJude, part of the organisation’s live-stream event in honour of Giving Tuesday on May 5, we now know all of Barrymore’s animal menagerie. Her daughter has a bearded dragon named Jeremy, a guinea pig named Daisy, and a sweet little white mouse named Gus Gus (who Barrymore calls “Mousey"). The family also raises chickens together.
In the video, Barrymore introduces her little zoo to Faith, a child dealing with cancer in an extremely positive way. Faith and her mother choose to see the good in the world, not to dwell on the negative. “You can get caught up in the fear, and your world is rocked,” Faith’s mother, who is also in the chat, tells Barrymore. “As a parent, being told your childhood has cancer comes out of nowhere. You don’t know how to handle it until you’re doing it.”
“What would you say to someone who was going into something that they were scared about?,” Barrymore asks.
Faith’s mother tells Barrymore that whenever someone asks her and Faith how they’re getting through the obstacle they’ve been presented with, Faith says, “I just smile, and I just want to be happy…Why be sad and make yourself even sadder being like, ‘Why do I have this?’ when you could just be happy?”
Faith and her mother’s positive attitude also applies to all of our current situation. It’s easy to feel anxious and depressed when the world is filled with uncertainty like we’ve never encountered or even imagined before. “At St. Jude, our patient families remind us daily that no matter where we are in the world and whatever difficult circumstances we face, it’s important to find ways to be inspired and delighted, and never lose hope,” Richard C. Shadyac Jr., President and CEO of ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organisation for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, said in a release.
St. Jude has been a steady resource for how to practice love and compassion during the current pandemic. Even if you’re not personally dealing with a child fighting illness, the hospital is there with helpful, insightful advice that we all need right now.
You can learn more about St. Jude Children’s Take 5 Together campaign here. Even if your current situation doesn’t make donating feasible, you can send messages of hope to mothers of St. Jude’s patients for Mother’s Day. Barrymore recently shared her advice on remaining optimistic during the COVID-19 pandemic on Refinery29.