I've always felt that "everything happens for a reason"we may not understand it then or ever but I do believe that there is reason. Maybe that is what I have to believe...maybe that is part of my faith. I'm not one to talk about my faith out loud. Those close to me know I believe deeply in God and that is where I put my trust and it is how I raise my children to believe.
I also believe we are all part of a much larger plan...one that we can't see and we may never see until we reach the other side. But while we are here on earth, I feel it is our duty to do GOOD...to be kind, helpful, generous - to give and receive love.
The saying goes that people come in and out of our lives. Some stay for a short time and others for a lifetime. I've met some of the most compassionate, caring and dearest friends in the past five years since I've been heavily involved with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and fundraising for cancer research.
In particular one of those women, Kelly Thomas...happened to live down the street from me. We connected via an online neighborhood mom's group she started and at the time she donated an item to a Silent Auction I was participating in for a fundraising event. But we never met face-to-face. Little did I know that less than two years later our paths would cross again when her 2 year old daughter, Lainey, was diagnosed with leukemia on August 23, 2013. Lainey is currently in remission and doing well, but will receive treatment through November 2015. After I reached out to Kelly to offer support, she signed up to run her first half marathon and fundraise for LLS. Will, my husband, was her marathon coach. I remember meeting with her at Market Street and her telling me Lainey's story and how she knew there was a reason or a purpose that this happened to their family. We just seemed to become fast friends. As if Lainey's cancer wasn't enough for their family....two weeks before our race, Kelly received some devastating news. She was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer in April 2014. I remember that Friday afternoon when she called me because I was at school and I saw her number come up and I thought "Kelly wouldn't call unless something was wrong with Lainey" so I picked up. She proceeded to tell me and I simply couldn't keep it together...and all I remember telling her was that Will and I would do WHATEVER we could to help her and Dave get through this. And I meant it! I hung up and called Will.
|Kelly ran that half marathon and ROCKED it!|
On Tuesday, August 5 Kelly completed her 5th chemo treatment and also announced the beginning of a nonprofit organization that she founded and I'm proud to be a part of called Love is Louder than Cancer.
And just one day later, Wednesday, sweet Lainey had to receive a spinal tap and chemo. Kelly asked if I could join them since Dave was out of town helping his company, PepsiCo sign up hundreds of people to get swabbed with Delete Blood Cancer to be a potential match for someone. Nothing can put life into perspective like sitting in a pediatric oncology floor watching your friend who isn't even 24 hours post chemo herself hold her daughter while she is getting her port accessed crying because it wasn't numb enough yet. Big tears flowed from all three of us. But there were also moments of laughter because children are resilient (and silly). And moments of peace as I watched Kelly pray over Lainey as they put her to sleep for the spinal tap. And then there was the BEST MOMENT...as I dropped them off and was talking to Kelly at the door about the nonprofit stuff...Lainey came running over and said, "Thank you for helping me today." My heart exploded...because that is what life is about!
Lainey and Kelly are both fighters and their family has a strong belief in God and His purpose for their lives. When Kelly began chemo treatments she asked her friends to do a random act of kindness on the day she was receiving treatment...to help "Spread the Love" and show the world that #loveislouderthancancer. And thus the name of the foundation was born!
Love is Louder than Cancer will spread love by providing financial and emotional support to families fighting cancer. Starting a non-profit though is expensive and to make an impact we need on-going funding. We are in the process of applying for our 501c3 status and Love is Louder Than Cancer Foundation is now an official LLC non-profit registered in the state of TX. Please consider making a donation to help us honor our fight through helping others with their fight. No amount is too small!
Stay tuned...we have BIG PLANS. For now you can follow us on our Love is Louder than Cancer Facebook page. Spread the love and spread the word!
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