Thursday, March 26, 2015

Finding a Purpose

The Lejeune Four joined the childhood cancer family in January 2014--when we were completely blindsided with Paige's leukemia diagnosis.  From that moment, our #1 goal became getting Paige well.  A crash course in everything from acronyms and procedures to medications and side effects--and the journey began.

Did I know about cancer before it came after my daughter?  Yes.  Did I have the slightest clue how it would affect us?  Absolutely not.  How it would change our lives from that point on?  No way.  My firstborn, my baby girl, my beautiful daughter--diagnosed with a life-threatening disease.  The good news in all of this was that Paige's particular type of cancer was treatable with a good cure rate.  Unfortunately, far too many families don't receive the same words of hope.  It's time for that to change.

Childhood cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in U.S. children under the age of 15.  Over 700 precious children are affected every single day.  Some display 'typical' symptoms, while others appear to otherwise be in good health.  It's heartbreaking and infuriating--and it makes me want to do whatever I can to help other families affected by this beast called cancer.  This sentiment is common among cancer families.  Between clinic, the hospital, and other activities, we get an up-close and personal look at the many faces of childhood cancer.  These faces become our call to action.  They become our purpose.

Recently we teamed up with a friend (whose son is a 10-year survivor of brain cancer) in an effort to give back to a place that has given so much to our families.  Texas Children's Cancer Center is home to an incredible team of doctors, nurses, and support staff who are on a mission to defeat cancer.  They also happen to do a fantastic job of caring for their patients and families.

Team Jake & Team Paige came together in the form of Striking for Gold, a charity bowling event that would benefit the cancer center.  Months of planning---not to mention the support of some pretty amazing people--came together in a remarkable way.  31 teams.  Silent auction loaded with great items.  Bake sale with yummy treats.  $7,850 to give back to a place that has given us so much.  Not bad for our inaugural year, huh?  We hope to go even BIGGER next year--and in the meantime, we will look for ways to help however we can!

A few weeks ago we had the opportunity to participate in a photo shoot asking the NFL and MLB to Go Gold in September for Childhood Cancer Awareness.  We met those currently fighting--as well as the families of other fighters who have earned their angel wings.  This special day was organized by a sweet lady with a true heart for these kids.  In fact, she's put together several benefits for many sweet children she loves as her own, and I look forward to joining her as I am able.

Too many families lose their warriors to subtypes of cancer that are still puzzling to even the best of the best.  This is why it's so very important to get the word out.  To fund much-needed research.  To save more lives.  Our kids deserve nothing less.

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.   Galatians 6:9

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