I remember exactly when I learned of Donna Day. My friend, awesome blogger, and fellow contributor to Sunshine After the Storm: A Survival Guide for the Grieving Mother, Kelly DeBie from the blog DeBie Hive. (A MUST follow of blogs!)
Anyway, a year ago today I saw her post about “Donna Day.” And my world might have been forever changed.
Cancer sucks in general, but when it happens to a child, it seems magnified by tens of thousands. This is what happened to Donna.
Donna is my daughter. She is your daughter. She is all of our daughters.
In reality, Donna is my friend Sheila’s daughter. You might know her as “Mary Tyler Mom.” She is an incredible blogger and writer, who began Donna’s Good Things (a nonprofit to raise money to fight pediatric cancer) after her own four year old daughter fought, and succumbed to cancer after fighting for 31 months. Now Sheila and her husband have dedicated their lives to “parenting” Donna by doing good things for other children fighting cancer. Donna’s Good Things.
Incidentally, Sheila is also a contributor to Sunshine After the Storm: A Survival Guide for the Grieving Mother.
As I read her story, my heart broke into a bazillion pieces. I know the grief of losing a child. I watched my baby suffer for only two days before she left us. I cannot imagine the pain, torture, and emotional strife that would accompany watching your child fight through cancer.
I CANNOT IMAGINE having to have a conversation about dying with my three year old. I urge you to watch this 4 min video about Donna’s journey.
My cousin Rachel was diagnosed with cancer at four years old. She fought it for four years, and passed away at eight years old. Although I was never blessed to know Rachel in person, she is my mother’s cousin’s daughter, and as family goes, we stick together. I followed Rachel’s story, I bought her a beautiful purple silken scarf on my first deployment to Oman for her to cover her head, and like the rest of the family, I prayed for a miracle. But Rachel didn’t make it.
The next year, a friend of mine had a son diagnosed with leukemia at five months old. Five MONTHS. He fought it so hard, but lost the battle at 18 months old. I will never forget Calvin.
Sadly, in Donna, Rachel and Calvin’s situations, the cancer won. But it doesn’t have to win every time.
The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is a volunteer-driven charity committed to funding the most promising research to find cures for childhood cancers and give survivors long, healthy lives.
I know there are so many things you could pledge your money to. But this is one that if you can even find $5 or $10 to support – can be life changing to the tiniest of our little ones.
Today is Donna Day, but it’s not too late for you to support this cause. If you’re a blogger, and would like to post about it, feel free to grab whatever you want out of this post. The big event is not until March 29th, so we still have time to blog, raise awareness and support. If I lived in Chicago, I would be there in a heartbeat.