Hope4Peyton header image

Starting the timer

Peyton and I have been invited to speak on TV about the Pediatric Cancer Foundation’s Breakfast of Hope. I’ll be speaking at the Breakfast so I guess they want us to go on and share our personal experiences.

Take two minutes and describe to someone the most horrific experience of your life. Make them feel the anguish and devastation of that moment in 120 seconds. Connect with them, try to make them understand and then get your point across, in less time than it takes to microwave a Hot Pocket.

That’s what it feels like when I’m asked to speak to people about cancer. Yet, I know that it would be impossible to comprehensively explain to someone who hasn’t experienced having their child diagnosed with cancer, even if I had a lifetime to stamp on my soapbox or wax poetic.

Words are powerful. I think of some of words that, when put together in a sentence, can crumble your entire world.

“Your child has cancer”
“It’s a relapse, the cancer is back”
“It’s an inoperable tumor”
“There are no more treatment options”
“In loving memory”

But how do you get through to people who don’t really want to understand what it feels like to be on the receiving end of those words? Is there a picture I can show, a particular memory I could share that would open their eyes to the reality of pediatric cancer? Do I talk about what it feels like to live with the cancer cloud over your child? Can I really express what it feels like to hold the hand of a friend who has learned that treatment has failed? How do you tell someone, I sat at the feet of a child as she breathed her last breath and lost her battle with cancer?

But what I don’t ever want to have to do is what too many of my precious friends are left with….I don’t want to hold up a picture of my child, forever captured in a photograph, who will always be 2, 8, 15….because they never had a chance for more years. I don’t want to be the parent who has to share a favorite memory of my child because that’s all I have left of them….because cancer takes without consideration. I don’t want to cry, beg and plea for a chance for all the other kids….because my child wasn’t given one.

I get the chance to take Peyton on tv again and try to get through to the hearts of the unknowing. Tell our story, explain the need for research and raise the awareness that will someday bring us the answers of cancer, the faster treatments, the better medications, and one day…the CURES.

I remember someone telling me that Peyton had the “good cancer”, that they could cure Leukemia. I got so fed up with that phrase. I actually told someone that 75% isn’t a cure rate, it’s a death sentence for 25% of the kids. That’s a 75% chance if they survive the treatment with it’s potential for infection, damage to the organs, pneumonia, and secondary cancer (just to name a very few issues)….75% odds for making it 5 years. Never mind the kids who will never experience the colors of another sunset because cancer robbed them of their eyes, the kids who will never dance with grace again because cancer stole their strength and mobility, the kids who will struggle the rest of their lives with learning, infertility, weak hearts or livers. These are the lucky ones, these are part of the 75% who have a future….not the future anyone wanted for them…but they have one.

Yeah…maybe not the most politically correct way to get that point across…but it’s the truth.

So, we’ll go on TV, we’ll share a tiny bite-sized encapsulation of life with pediatric cancer and pray that it’s gets us one step closer to a day when the survival rates are 100%…when the cure rate isn’t 5 years, but 50 years…when we can kill the cancer without killing the child….when childhood cancer gets the same attention and research funding as breast, colon and lung cancer.

Ok…all done. And there is NO way I’m going to be able to get that all across in two minutes.

It’ll be something like “This is Peyton, she has cancer, cancer is bad, BOOO cancer.”

f.r.o.G…fully relying on God

ps…I wanted to share that a friend of our cousin Tommy is running a half marathon for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society January 13th, in honor of our very own Peyton! Here is the link to her fundraising page, if you can donate a few dollars let’s get them working for a good cause!

6 Comments on “Starting the timer”

  1. #1 Penny Hawkins
    on Jan 4th, 2008 at 7:55 pm

    WE have faith in you. If anyone can do it – YOU CAN! Penny

    P.S. Tell Jared his nintendo is in his ROOM right where I suggested that he MIGHT have left it. (Don't question us moms)


  2. #2 Tammy Nettina
    on Jan 4th, 2008 at 10:40 pm

    It doesn't matter if what you say is politically correct. There is nothing about pediatric cancer, any cancer, that is "correct." You just say whatever you need to say to get the point across. You can do it! I do not have a child with cancer (for which I thank GOD every day) but I sure do GET that something needs to be done. And done NOW!

  3. #3 Lucille
    on Jan 5th, 2008 at 9:36 am

    I think you should say exactly what you posted. It gets the point across beautifully and shouldn't go past 2 minutes. You're great with words.

  4. #4 Amy Nasworthy
    on Jan 5th, 2008 at 11:15 am

    I know that your going to do awesome. You have such a gift for writing and speaking. Some words pierce right to the soul. I have yet to hear that my child has cancer so I can only imagine how that must feel. We will see CURES for all one day and safer treatments. Our children will not be forgotten, we will fight!!

  5. #5 basi
    on Jan 5th, 2008 at 6:54 pm

    I'm glad you have the chance to speak for so many who are affected by this awful disease. I agree with everybody hear, say what's on your heart and what you posted rocks!

    You rock, :WINK

    love, basi

    p.s. I can't believe how big Peyton is getting. Love the hair!

  6. #6 Angela
    on Jan 6th, 2008 at 2:53 pm

    Talk from your heart. It will be wonderful.
    Love you,