Maggie May and Josh Kelly, co-owners of gift shop and creative space Think Thornbury, went through the absolute ringer last year – more so than most. At just 28, Josh was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma (you can read more about that here). With a busy small business to take care of, as well as their then 18-month-year-old son Remy (oh, and also that global pandemic-driven statewide lockdown), to say the future was uncertain for this family of three would be an understatement.
That was back in October, and we are so thrilled to share that as of January, Josh is officially in remission! BEST NEWS EVER!
We caught up with Maggie May to chat about the last few months, the importance of supporting local small businesses, and what they’ve learned over the last year.
Hey Maggie! last time we caught up with you, Josh had just started chemo. Where are you guys at now?
MM: Wow, it’s been like going to hell and back since then. Josh had a particularly high toxicity regime of chemotherapy that was really intense. It did its job and knocked the cancer into remission, but it definitely took its toll – there were some days when he was too fatigued to even grab a glass of water. He finished up at the end of December and we’re going much better now, though recovery from chemo is expected to take about 8 months before he’ll return to baseline energy levels.
However, life feels really positive at the moment. We’re on holiday taking a couple of days off at the beach and it couldn’t feel more different than 6 months ago. We’re just so lucky.
How is the store going? What fun cool stuff have you got going on in there?
MM: So much fun stuff! We worked on some fantastic collaborations with locals in December and a poster campaign with the Darebin city council and artist Eleonora Arosio to remind people to Shop, Eat, Support Local. It was amazing to see how much our Thinkers in the shop loved the collabs.
We made a candle with Bon Lux, Soap with Soap Club, a Flag with Society of Friends and a 2021 calendar Tea Towel with Eleonora Arosio. Pretty much everything sold out! They were all just such joyful things after a year of challenges. We’re super inspired to keep developing original products and we have a few things in the works at the moment!
And how is Remy?
MM: SO GOOD. He’ll be 2 in March and he’s just got so much of a personality and his own interests now. He LOVES trains, he loves our dog Sasha and he’s really putting words together to tell us what he wants. There are still all the same challenges that come on a daily basis, naptime, eating, managing his expectations of the world, and did I mention sleep? Bedtime is now hours of Joni Mitchell on repeat.
We’re lucky to have him and honestly, there doesn’t seem to be a person he meets who doesn’t immediately fall in love with him. He’s the real star of Think Thornbury.
Reflecting on all the challenges that were heaped on your family in 2020, what learnings have you taken with you into 2021?
MM: The big lesson for us from 2020 is that you can’t always control the things that happen to you, but you can control how you respond. Something that’s helped us is setting clear and consistent boundaries with ourselves and everyone in our lives.
Your health is the most important thing. Really, honestly, it’s the most important thing. Josh’s diagnosis put everything in perspective. We are living our lives with a new barometer of ‘is this really something we need to give our energy to?’
Chemotherapy is fucked and if you know someone going through it, extend to them your fullest support. Our community working together is how we get through challenges.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
MM: Please continue to support local. Businesses are still trying to navigate new and unexpected challenges. Be active and involved with how you maintain your support for restaurants, cafes, shops and small business. It will really make a difference.
Choose to support small in all things and really consider the changes you can make.
800 High Street
Monday – Closed
Tuesday – Friday – 11am-5pm
Saturday 10am – 5pm
Sunday 11am – 2pm