Friday, September 7, 2012

Stand Up 2 Cancer

 

Checking Twitter this afternoon, I kept coming across the hashtag #SU2C and I quickly realized it stands for Stand Up To Cancer, an organization that raises money for cancer research.  Well, the SU2C event was on tonight and I read that Taylor Swift was debuting a song she wrote about a courageous little dude named Ronan who last his fight against neuroblastoma last year.  I popped onto iTunes and downloaded the song before I'd even heard it.  One word - AMAZING.
  
Let me introduce you to Ronan...
 
Ronan was born in May 2007 - the missing link needed to complete a perfect family.  Ronan's mom Maya noticed that Ronan's eye was just a little lazy looking.  No one else seemed to notice.
 
Ronan's dad saw him the next day and immediately knew there were problems with the eye. Mom Maya took Ronan to the doctor who basically dismissed her concerns, so she contacted another doctor she hoped would would listen.  Tests were taken - MRIs, CT Scans.  Then on the 12th of August, 2010, Ronan was told he had stage IV neuroblastoma.  Ronan's fight ended less than a year later on May 9, 2011. 

I followed this family through the touching and authentic expression of their experience through a blog which can be found at www.rockstarronan.com  Losing this little rockstar was tough - it was tough for all of us who were connected to this boy online.  But I can't even imagine the pain Ronan's mother Maya experienced.  I've said before that Maya is my hero - the way she has taken the love for her boy and her hate for all things cancer to create awareness and raise money to help kiddos fighting cancer is amazing.  And thanks to Taylor's new song, more people will know about the little rockstar Ronan was and will help keep his memory alive.
 
It's hard to change the world but you can - just one step at a time.  Please download Taylor Swift's "Ronan" on iTunes to show your support.  Money from the download will raise funds to fight cancer.
 
As I was listening to "Ronan," I couldn't help but to think of that beautiful and perfect little angel Layla Grace.  Layla Grace was born in November 2007.  What a perfectly beautiful little girl she was.  When Layla was almost 18-months-old, she was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma.  Over the next ten months, Layla endured chemotherapies, surgeries.  Layla's mom Shanna was also very open about their journey. She would share how things were going. I would wake up everyday and check to see how this little girl who I didn't know was doing.  Layla was about my daughter's age at the time - the thought of putting myself in Shanna's shoes was breathtaking.   It is hard to imagine just how difficult helplessly watching your child fight cancer must be.

As Layla grew weaker, the stories became harder to read. In the last couple of days of Layla's life, I prayed that God would relieve her of her suffering. If it was that hard for me, a stranger, to deal with, I couldn't begin to wrap my head about the family and how they were dealing. I remember reading a post shortly after Layla past and all I could say is, "She's gone."

Layla earned her mini-angel wings on March 9, 2010.  I wept uncontrollably the night she lost her battle - the thought of a beautiful, innocent child having to suffer such pain... Her poor parents.  I wish I could've taken all that pain away.
 
 
Much like Ronan's story, little Miss Layla Grace is not forgotten.  Her parents started the Layla Grace Foundation which raises funds to help research and develop new treatments for high-risk cancer patients.
 
For more on the information, visit www.laylagracefoundation.org and www.theronanthompsonfoundation.com.  We can all do our part to help make sure diseases like neuroblastoma stop taking childrens' lives.

I want to share one more website with you.  Our neighbors down the street lost their sweet son to cancer a couple years ago.  They also started a charity in their son's memory - please visit A Spark of Hope for more information - http://www.asparkofhope.com/
 

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