Arkansas cancer victim’s family creates program to record heartbeats
HOT SPRINGS, Ark. — Family members of pediatric patients at Arkansas Hospice will soon be able to keep their loved one’s heartbeat with them after they are gone.
Caton’s Cubs, a nonprofit program started by the family of the late Arkansas Hospice patient Caton Jones, was announced during an Arkansas Hospice luncheon at Special Touch Catering.
The program will enable the purchase of teddy bears that play a recording of the patient’s heartbeat when squeezed, and Doppler instruments for recording the sounds. Arkansas Hospice care staff will capture and upload the heartbeat recording to the bears, which can be kept by the family as a legacy keepsake, according to a news release about the program.
“We wanted to do something to give back to Arkansas Hospice,” Lisa Jones, Caton Jones’ mother, told The Sentinel-Record.
Caton Jones was placed under Arkansas Hospice care after suffering life-threatening injuries in a wreck in January 2016 and contracting osteosarcoma in his mandible in the aftermath. Caton Jones’ injuries and cancer led to his death in November 2016 at the age of 19.
The Jones family got the idea for Caton’s Cubs while he was under hospice care. Lisa Jones said his sister originally thought of the idea to record his heartbeat.
“She did that herself,” she said.
David Edwards of Arkansas Hospice said he initially heard about the idea for Caton’s Cubs a few weeks ago and “thought it was fantastic.”
“It really is breathtaking when you think of the lasting keepsake of a loved one’s heartbeat, especially that of a child, to be kept forever,” Edwards said.
Lisa Jones said Arkansas Hospice currently receives between 30-40 pediatric patients per year. She said the bears given to the patients will be funded by the leftover money in Caton’s GoFundMe account.
The luncheon also served as the unveiling of a painting the Jones family donated to Arkansas Hospice. The painting, by Anne Cutri, was originally given to the Jones family as a gift at Caton’s birth.
Lisa Jones said the donation of the painting is what eventually motivated them to initiate Caton’s Cubs.
The Jones family is also looking to start scholarship funds through Lakeside High School, where Caton Jones was a student, and Arkansas State University’s Kappa Sigma fraternity, which Caton Jones pledged to. They have also funded the release of a bald eagle into the wild in his name to support the Arkansas Plant and Wildlife Center.
As for the teddy bears, Arkansas Hospice is raising money for the purchase of Doppler instruments to record the heartbeats.
Edwards said Arkansas Hospice and the Jones family sees “no end in sight” for Caton’s Cubs, provided the nonprofit receives sufficient funding.
“We see this continuing to grow indefinitely,” Edwards said.