Today is an important day. Four years ago today , September 3, 2008, four doctors stood over us and told us you had cancer in your blood. That was the scariest sentence that has ever been spoken to me in my life. It was the most devastating day of our lives. You don't remember very much of it. You are too young right now to talk to us about this, but I have things to say to you today. So I will say them here.
On one hand I can't believe it's been four years already, on the other hand it is starting to feel like a lifetime ago that you went through those difficult years. Most of the time I don't think about it. That is a blessing, because there was a time when I thought about cancer every hour, every minute, every second of every day. Now it is a memory I have to search for and pull out when I want to, with occasional times where it is brought to the surface immediately by something that is said or something I see. The fact that you don't remember much is also a blessing. I remember our bishop telling us you wouldn't remember most of it. It didn't make it easier, but it was true. You remember how you felt on chemo, and the sleepy medicine, and your port, but so much of it has faded from your mind.
I know we are submerged in the world of childhood cancer. I also know that many people wonder why, when you are doing so well, we feel the need to continue the battle. You won right? We don't need the support any more, we are a happy, normal family. Why are we constantly asking for people's help still for this cause? Do we just like to relive it to get attention? I am sure those thoughts have entered the minds of those around us.
There are a few reasons we continue with the fight. One of them is for those left behind on the battlefield. We love them and can't leave them. We know they need our voice from this side of the battle because they are in the trenches and can't speak right now. We can do the easy part now that we are out of those trenches. Another reason we are so involved, and the greatest reason, is you. Without you we would never know about this world that only existed in our peripheral vision. You made us look at it straight on, wide eyed, and we were shocked and appalled at what we saw. We will never be the same because of it.
The same way we honor veterans who have fought so bravely, there are specific times in which we promise them we will never forget them and what they have gone through. This is how we honor you. We don't care if you remember or not, we remember. And we honor you by never forgetting. September 3rd is our family's own personal 9/11. Our own D-Day. The day cancer attacked our family, because by attacking you, it attacked our family. And yes, this enemy is as real to me as any enemy that exists to man. It is a threat that seeks lives to destroy, families to devastate, people to break.
So every September, during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, I will search my memory, and read back through the writings, and look through old pictures. And remember the way you fought, and the way you suffered, and the way you conquered. I will share with others where you have been. Not because I want attention for it, or for you, but because you are a childhood cancer HERO and should be recognized as someone who fought the beast and won. Until there is a cure, I will fight for those who I know are where you have been right now. I fight for them, yes, but it is because of YOU that I fight. You are a war hero, and what you have been through should NEVER ever be forgotten, by any of us. I witnessed it, and therefore could never push it aside as though it didn't happen.
I honor you this month Brinley. I love who you are. I love what you bring to our family. We would be much less without you, and I will always know that we could have lost you. And I thank God that we didn't.
Is the year half over?? I can't even believe it. I hear the older you get the faster time goes. Time seems to slip right through my fingers, which is okay I suppose. It seems the further away we get from Brinley's treatment the more it fades into just a bad memory, not a way of life, or something that defines our family. We are adjusted to "normal" again, though we will never take it for granted. This feel right finally, to do the things a family normally does. We have been busy with life....
Taylor is busy with soccer, piano, and getting ready for 10th grade (YIKES!)
Jade loves karate and even got two second place and one third place metals at her last tournament. She is also in the choir and learning piano.
Brinley is busy being a normal 5 year old. Playing dress up, holding baby chicks, going to kindergarten. Look at her long hair :)
Mylee is so old...she turned 3 in March so we don't have any babies any more. Vacations just started sounding more fun!
Brinley gets checked every three months now at Primary's. Every time she passes with flying colors! We did have a scare over Christmas and had to check her bone marrow because she had been sick a few weeks and then broke her arm (which was how she was diagnosed...uh...scary) but all was well and her marrow remains free from cancer. We feel so blessed to be where we are, words can't express.
With summer coming up, it is time for us to prepare for our big September fundraiser. After MUCH thought, anguish, and discussion, David and I have decided to put all our eggs in the CureSearch walk this year. We will not be holding Sweet Brinley's Grand Stand. It took months to decide because it is so close to our hearts. It was so much fun, and we love Alex's Lemonade Stand so much. When it was decided the CureSearch walk would be held in September David and I realized it accomplished the purpose we set out to accomplish with our Lemonade Stand. A community event during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month that would raise funds and awareness of pediatric cancer. It was our first year last year putting on the CureSearch walk, and it raised over $70,000! In the beginning I was very sad to not hold our stand but this just feels like the right thing to do. We love CureSearch too, it is the same organization I have lobbied with in DC and they are working towards the same goal. So I am on the committee with some amazing, dear, cancer mom friends and we are STOKED! This year is gonna be big. You will not want to miss it.
Oh. Of course. You are wondering what part you can play in all of this. First off, you will want to join our team. Today. Right now. Trust me. There are prizes. There are competitions. You will be glad did it. It is only $10/walker. Sign your kids up too. They are FREE! And there will also be prizes for kids on Team Brinley! We are trying to build our team early on so we can make it fun over the summer, so if you think you will be joining us, do it sooner rather than later so you don't miss out! You can sign up here:
If you live out of state or know you will not be around for the walk, you can just donate to our team under the same link. That would be awesome too :) Or there is a "virtual walker" option as well.
Still skeptical? Need a little more info? I will be back in a few days with another post that has more information. I didn't want to word vomit all over you just yet. A little at a time...
Hope to see some new Team Brinley members this week!
Brinley's Cancer Fighting Friends
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