A Special Local Family Needs Your Help!

Please take a few moments to read this. Maybe you can help us help this incredible family. Many of us know someone whose family has been affected by cancer in some way and the unimaginable heartbreak that such a diagnosis causes.

A few weeks ago, we wrote to you asking for nominations for our annual Adopt-A-Family Christmas Charity Program. First, We want to thank all of you who participated. There were so many deserving families to choose from. We did make a selection- a family that everyone on our staff was touched by and we would like to tell you all more about them in the event that you would like to make a donation or contribution in some way to add to what we have already planned for them. Our adopted family is one that is experiencing multiple struggles and if that weren’t enough, they have an 18-month-old baby girl who was diagnosed with Hepatoblastoma, a liver cancer. They also have a 4-year-old daughter. Here are some words from the nominating family. Name have been changed for confidentiality purposes.

“I first met the Smith family when my son relapsed with leukemia in January of this year. During one of our inpatient hospital stays, I met another mom, Sarah, who was also doing laps around the halls with her daughter, a 6-month old with Hepatoblastoma, a liver cancer. As we talked more, we found out that we both have two children roughly the same ages (a 3 year old and an infant) and were both planning to travel out of state for our child’s cancer treatment. We quickly became friends. As we got to know each other more, I found out that Sarah is a teacher. I had the opportunity to meet her oldest, an adorable, curious and outgoing child l who was dancing in the hospital hallway to the music therapist’s harp when I first encountered her.

In February of this year, Sarah and her family traveled across the country where her then 7-month old daughter underwent a major surgery to take out a large portion of her liver to remove the cancer. Once she was well enough to travel home to Tucson, she underwent 4 difficult cycles of chemotherapy as part of her treatment, which often required inpatient stays and careful monitoring of her delicate body. This summer, just before her first birthday, she was declared cancer-free. However, the cancer treatment was not without a serious toll on the family. The little girl continues to be cancer free, but requires ongoing follow up and monitoring, both for the cancer and because of the side effects of the treatment she received. There are frequent visits to the oncologist, follow up scans and therapy.

When taken alone, there are several components of Sarah’s current life situation that would merit her to be selected for this (as well as Mom of the Year): Her daughters grueling cancer treatment, being an outstanding teacher through all of her child’s health struggles and raising two children on a teacher’s salary. However, when taken all together, it is almost unfathomable how Sarah manages to keep going, let alone smiling and going out of her way for others.

Some of the extra things that Sarah does include volunteering to be a home school teacher for a child in the district she works in who has been hospitalized for almost the entire year. This child has numerous health and family stressors and Sarah does more than teach this child: she visits her weekly, calls her nightly, cares for her and serves as a parent figure. In normal circumstances, this would be kind, but it is truly extraordinary given all the time Sarah spent in the hospital with her daughter.

Sarah and I participated in the Walk for Wishes, a fundraiser for the Make-a-Wish Foundation. It was an early morning event and I have to admit I struggled to get my kids out of the house and to the event (and this was with my husband’s assistance). Sarah brought both of her daughters alone and attended to cheer on our team, which was formed in memory of a fellow patient treated at the same time as our children.

These are just a few anecdotes that speak to her strength, spirit and giving heart.”

We sincerely appreciate anything you can do to participate in this special holiday charity. If you want to participate by making a financial or in-kind donation, please visit the link below. https://trustingconnections.com/donation-form/

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