The Dreaded “C” Word

I was listening to the radio this morning as I was getting ready for the day, and they were talking about a St. Jude radio-thon that they have coming up at the end of this week. I have always been so moved by the stories that I hear on those radio-thons of all of the children fighting for their lives and their families fighting right along with them.  There are always stories of triumph and victory over cancer that are so heart warming, and then there are stories of defeat and sadness that are so heart breaking. Whenever I hear these stories, it always puts things into perspective for me.  The medical issues that we have had with my daughter seem so insignificant compared to what these families are going through. It makes me realize how lucky and blessed we are because things could always be so much worse.  There is nothing that will stop me in my tracks and lead me to praise God for the blessings He has bestowed on me than when I hear a story like so many of these families are facing or have faced.

I am reminded today of a sweet little girl that we know who began her fight against cancer just a few short months ago and who is beginning chemotherapy this week.  This little girl has weighed heavily on my heart since I first heard that she was undergoing brain surgery and then the following diagnosis. I just haven’t been able to shake the feeling of despair that I feel for this family. I have prayed for this little girl so many times over the last few months.  Her strength and bravery through it all has been nothing short of amazing, and I am only getting to see it from afar.  I don’t know if it has affected me so much because she is just a little bit younger than my baby or if it is because she is a fellow gymnast and former teammate of my girls which brings it close to home or what, but my heart just aches for them.  The family has a very strong faith, which has been evident throughout their journey so far, and their faith is what is helping them get through. They truly believe that this is happing to them for a greater purpose and that this little girl has so much to give the world. I completely agree with them as I am already seeing how much she is impacting all of those that have heard her story.  The way that people have rallied around this family is unbelievable.  Strangers from all over the world are standing strong with them.  There is one bakery in their community that was selling strawberry cupcakes because it was the little girl’s favorite flavor, and they were donating the proceeds to the family.  They extended their sale for several days because of the overwhelming response.  Those two incredible ladies ended up baking over 4,000 strawberry cupcakes! That’s insane! I have also been truly touched by the way that the gymnastics community has rallied around them and supported them both financially and in prayer. A local leotard company in collaboration with her gym designed a leotard in support of this sweet girl, and they sold almost 600 leotards to gymnasts all over the world. There are so many other events that have been held and planned in support of this family, too. It has been mind-blowing to watch. What better sight than to see a community and organization come together to support one of their own.

While this little girl is fighting for her life and needs prayers from everyone, I also want to remember her mama.  I honestly feel like she has been on my heart more than the little girl.  I cannot imagine what she is going through, yet she has remained a beacon of strength for her daughter.  I am not sure that I would be able to handle the situation with as much strength and grace and with an unshakeable faith like she has. I pray so much for her mama heart.  I know that it has been broken into a million pieces that may never get put back together. I encourage you to think about the parents of all of these little angels that are fighting for their lives against this horrible disease.  They need love, prayers, and support just as much as the little one doing the fighting.  There are moms and dads out there who have to will themselves to get out of bed each morning and face whatever the day holds.  There are families that have to watch their child fight for their lives. There are families who have to watch their child loose the battle. There are families who know pain like no other.  These are the people that need our love, support, and prayers.  These are the real super heroes because they do get up everyday. They put on a brave face and hide away their worry and pain. They stand strong for their child. They are the ones willing their kids to fight.

The number of people that I know that have been affected by the dreaded “C” word is too many to count. I rejoice with those that have won their fight. I am saddened for the families of those that have lost. I pray for those that are still fighting.  We have made great strides in the research and ability to fight this terrible disease, but there is so much left to learn and more treatments to explore.  We cannot stop until this disease in all forms is eradicated completely.  Too many children are out there fighting. Please consider giving of your time, your prayers, your service, or your money to one of the many organizations that support cancer research and the families affected. Find one that you are passionate about and see how you can help.  If you can’t give financially, that’s okay.  You can work to raise money, volunteer at events, or even just offer support by simply providing a meal or praying for a family that needs it.  There is so much we can do and none of us do enough. I know that I don’t.  I need to step it up. We all need to step it up. This has to end. Don’t wait until something tragic happens to someone you love. Help now!  Use this season of giving to remind you to help those that need it the most. Use it as a lesson in compassion for your own kids. Show them how important it is to help others this time of year and all year long.

Check out these organizations for ways to help.

National Pediatric Cancer Foundation

St. Baldrick’s Foundation

National Brain Tumor Society

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Ronald McDonald House Charities

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If you are a praying person, please pray for this little girl, her mama, little brother, and dad. They need an army behind them leading the way.

We are standing strong for you Hartley! You’ve got this!  #ourheartswithhart

Anchored in Prayer,

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