childhood cancer

Stop the Pity Party

I’m the first to admit I fall into the dreaded pity party trap on occasion.  Woe is me.  My life is so tough.  Blah, blah, blah.

One thing snaps me out of that in an instant.

A call from my friend Lee.

Lee and Mark are our next door neighbors.  And to say they are amazing people is an understatement.  You see, last spring their entire world was completely changed in an instant when their then 7 year old daughter, Nat,  was diagnosed with a brain tumor.  Then came the confirmation… the words that no parent wants to hear:  “We’re sorry, but it’s malignant”

I was in shock when I heard.  Little Nat used to regularly come over and visit, spending time sitting on my front porch with me, cooing over how much she loved Vista.  Could this same little girl that made me laugh and smile really have brain cancer?  Really?

But instead of falling into the pity party, their family banded together and fought.  The challenges they faced would fill this entire page.  And yet they smiled.  They laughed.  And they did what they could to stay positive.

A year later, Nat is finally out of the hospital and starting back at school.  But it’s not over.  You don’t have multiple brain surgeries, radiation, chemo, and a million other drugs without after effects.  But I have never, ever, once heard Nat complain.  She is confident she’s getting better and that confidence is infectious.

Now that they’re home, instead of just returning to regular life (as regular as life can be after a traumatic, life changing event like that), they’ve decided to put themselves out there and do what they can to give back.

They spend their weekends at fundraising events for the Children’s Hosptial and Ronald McDonald House, and speak to raise awareness about childhood cancer.  They put themselves out there to support others going through this in the hopes that, one day,  no one will ever have to go through this again.

How can I possibly feel bad about anything in my life, when I have friends like this living next door?

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