I haven't a way to express this post, so that will be today's title. Wow.

Our family was invited to go to the Huntsman Cancer Institute to present grant money to two research leaders with a rep from Alex's Lemonade Stand today, who flew out from Pennsylvania to come to our stand and deliver the grant money. They awarded them $300,000.

It was a full circle moment for us. The researchers were so kind, and sincere, and grateful for what we are doing. We got to thank them, and they got to thank us. We recognize how important they are, and they recognize how important we are, in our own ways. We saw that we are all just human beings performing within our capacity to perform, trying to fight this beast together. Wow. Right?

They work every day to better the treatment, to improve survival rates, to make the chemo less harsh, to find out why our kids get cancer. Every day. Fighting cancer. Just like Brinley, only on a different level.

The NCI (National Cancer Institute) funds cancer research according to population affected. When you compare childrens cancers to adult cancers, you can guess who gets the bulk of the research money. Frustrating, but reality. This is truly a grassroots effort. If you give $10, or $100, or $1, and we have enough people give whatever donation they can, we can meet our goal of $10,000. That $10,000 doesn't do a whole lot by itself, but if people do that all over the place, you get to award grants to the most promising research of amounts like $300,000. From LEMONADE STANDS! They have raised over $30 million for research from lemonade stands.

David and I have the passion. We can put this together just by pure adrenaline from watching our child suffer through this, not to mention the children we see so often (ok and a REALLY dedicated and awesome committee). But I can't give $10,000. My goal is to share our story enough to help somehow, to get someone to give a little to a cause that is the #1 cause of death by disease in children. Childhood cancer.

Bottom line is this: I WANT TO KICK CANCER'S BUTT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Let's all do it together!

Jen, the rep from Alex's Lemonade Stand presenting the checks to the researchers

At least Taylor is smiling.

My fave, Brinley with the researcher who just got a $200,000 grant for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia research, which is her cancer. The one who wants to save lives, and the one whose life is threatened. Love it, absolutely love this picture.

We got a tour of the Huntsman Center. They had rows and rows of research like this. Awesome.

Remember, you can donate online at www.alexslemonade.org/mypage/67204. You can also text to donate and automatic $10. Just text "Lemonade E67204" to 85944 and it will automatically be charged to your phone bill. How easy is that, huh??

I will resist the urge to talk lemonade and just give you an update on Brinley, with another one soon to follow on other stuff....

Brinley is having the worst round of chemo she has ever had. For some reason she is especially sick and it has been a very hard few days for her. It just breaks my heart, really. She won't play, she won't laugh. She just wants her mommy to hold her, and if I am not holding her, she is moaning at my feet. This morning was her last dose of steroids, so I expect tomorrow she will be starting to feel better.

I took her to aerobics with me and she just watched me with a frown on her face. A little girl tried to talk to her and she just ignored her and looked away. Then she laid on her jacket and watched the other kids play and have fun. I left early, and in a weak moment as we walked out, I said "it's not fair, is it?" I have never said that out loud to her before, and I probably never will again. I have always tried to get her through it without making her feel sorry for herself. But at that moment, that was all I had for her. It's not fair. I should count the times a day she tells me something on her hurts, or she doesn't feel good. It would be close to a hundred these last few days. Her head hurts, her stomach hurts, her legs hurt, her feet hurt, she feels like she is going to "puke". And all I can say is "I know", and give her a hug. This picture was taken today, and this is the sweet, sad little face I looked at all day.

One thing that has been sweet is that even though my girls fight A LOT, they come through for each other when it matters. Jade is a good little caretaker of her sister, asking me often how many more times Brinley has to get chemo. When Brinley got that high fever last week, the first thing Jade asked when she got home from school was "did Brinley have bacteria in her blood? Because I feel bad when she is really sick, and I don't want the bacteria to get in her blood." I knew she had thought about her sister that day. So sweet.

And then I start to think, this will all be a memory soon. It will get more and more distant. Only two more treatments. How will I manage to keep it there, fresh in my memory, so that I can continue to fight? I have to find a way.

That's right, we are sporting gold all month for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. I wanted to share some facts about childhood cancer.

  • Around 12,000 children are diagnosed with cancer each year in the US. Around 200,000 children are diagnosed each year worldwide.
  • One in every 330 Americans develops cancer before the age of twenty.
  • On the average, 36 children and adolescents are diagnosed with cancer everyday in the United States.
  • On the average, one in every four elementary schools has a child with cancer. The average high school has two students who are current or former cancer patients.
  • Cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children under the age of 15 in the United States.
  • Childhood cancers affect more potential patient-years of life than any other cancer except breast and lung cancer.
  • The causes of most childhood cancers are unknown. At present, childhood cancer cannot be prevented.
  • Childhood cancer occurs regularly, randomly and spares no ethnic group, socioeconomic class, or geographic region. In the United States, the incidence of cancer among adolescents and young adults is increasing at a greater rate than any other age group, except those over 65 years.
  • Despite these facts, childhood cancer research is vastly and consistently underfunded.
As I watch Brinley this round of chemo battle things out inside her body I am faced, once again, with a helpless feeling, with no way to take away her pain and sickness. I believe in the advancement of medicine, and I believe God gave us the tools to figure this out. Let's get there! As quickly as possible. What will the day be like that we can say each child with cancer will live! Will be able to have children, a family. Will have a healthy, strong body without disabilities from the chemo. They deserve that. Brinley is sleeping in my arms as I type because she is too tired to play. She couldn't decided if she wanted to go to her friends house, or pre-school, or sunday school because she is too tired and sick. No child should have to do this. It isn't right.

We can't wait for our Alex's Lemonade Stand. We are hoping to have a good turnout, you just never know. As we have planned this event, I have realized that there are people who truly care, and people who just don't. It is interesting to watch from one person to the next. We have had people call us and ask what they can do to help spread the word when they hear about it. Or making a donation without batting an eye. And we have had people look at us like we are trying to sell them a Kirby vacuum. I'm not sure what the difference is, why one person is so annoyed to have to listen to us talk about childhood cancer, and the next person is filled with compassion for these kids. I'm sure anyone who has tried to advocate for a group of people can relate. We have had to focus on the good people out there so we don't get too discouraged, because they are out there.

I remember last year, the man who lingered around our stand for a while, then finally wrote out a check for $1. None of us will forget that donation. We all wondered what it took for him to give us that money, and what was going through his head as he debated whether he would contribute or not. Anyhow, we have had some pretty amazing experiences and are ready to bring this cause to the community!

Remember if you can't make it you can still donate online. Click on the sidebar and it will take you to our donation page. Or if you aren't much for making online donations, you can now text to donate. It is the coolest thing, you just text "Lemonade E67204", to 85944 and it will be an automatic $10 donation. Text donations are billed directly to your cell phone provider and then paid to Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. It will show up in our stand total, but we won't know where it came from, so let us know so we can thank you!