Did you know that about 1 in 300 kids will be diagnosed with childhood cancer? I bet if you add up the kids represented in your facebook friend list, you get to more than 300. September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness month, so now is the time to learn more and to bring awareness to the need for research and support of childhood cancers. Unfortunately, I have a friend whose son recently lost his battle with cancer.This month I will wear gold in his honor and try to spread the word about ways to support those children fighting cancer.
Like so many of us, I didn’t know what to do or say when I heard the news. Fortunately, my friend was surrounded by friends and family who know her much better than I do, but I still wanted to let her know that she was, and continues to be, in my thoughts and prayers. In searching for ways to show my support without intruding on her life, I got a small token from CourageInStone.com that I hoped would be a tangible way of letting her know my thoughts. I put the token on my hall table with the intention of mailing it within a few days. Unfortunately, the token disappeared and I didn’t see it for weeks. Until one Sunday morning…
My son and I were headed for church, walking down our driveway as we do several times a day, every day. As I was getting into the car, I noticed something on the ground. It was the token. How in the world did it get there? How did I just now notice it? How did it not get run over/smooshed/dirty? I have no idea. I picked up the token, put it in my pocket, and vowed to get a card and mail it that day. Off we went to church. It turns out that when we got to Mass, not only was my friend at church with her son, but they were heading out of state for additional medical treatments the next day. At this mass our Priest gave them a special blessing and the whole Parish offered their prayers. After Mass, I found my friend, surrounded by many others. I gave her a quick hug, assured her of my continued prayers, and put the token in her hand. Clearly, it was no accident that I found the token in the driveway that morning.
I have no idea if my friend still has the token or if she even remembers our encounter. I suspect not – in the midst of all of the chaos that day, and in the weeks and months that followed, I’m sure our brief hug was relatively insignificant. But I hope my prayers and wishes were one small drop of love, hope, and strength that combined with many others to surround her with a sea of support. Sadly, this brave young man lost his battle with cancer. His spirit and bravery still live on and are still inspiring others.
Please take some time this month to learn more about childhood cancers. More importantly, please take this time to DO more to support children with cancer and their families. Consider making a donation to an organization like St. Baldrick’s Foundation that focuses on childhood cancer research: http://www.stbaldricks.org or to Camp Sunrise that provides a summer camp experience for kids with cancer: http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/campsunrise.