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.
That’s the whole point of Donna’s Good Things. A very large fundraiser through St. Baldrick’s – a nonprofit dedicated to fighting pediatric cancer. Their mission statement is:
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.
Please give what you can to Donna’s Good Things fundraiser with St. Baldrick’s.
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.
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Katie @ Pick Any Two saysFebruary 25, 2014 at 6:49 am
Sharing and supporting now!!! Such an important cause. Thank you for all that you’re doing to raise awareness and support. “Please don’t look away.” Too many people do, and today I don’t want to be one of those people.
Katie @ Pick Any Two recently posted…The Best Advice I Received for Baby’s First Year
katbiggie saysFebruary 25, 2014 at 1:13 pm
That’s right Katie. Thank you so much. I know how much it means to Sheila and all families who have a child who go through this!
Janine Huldie saysFebruary 25, 2014 at 7:31 am
Also sharing and supporting this right now. My aunt back in the 1960s actually lost her 9 year old son to a rare form of cancer (aplastic anemia), so this one is truly close to our family. And I seriously get weepy thinking about it. Thank you for sharing about this today and definitely will do what I can.
Janine Huldie recently posted…It’s Really 10 Months, But Who Is Counting…
katbiggie saysFebruary 25, 2014 at 1:13 pm
Oh your poor aunt. It’s such a difficult situation. I just cannot imagine watching my own child suffer like that. 🙁
another jennifer saysFebruary 25, 2014 at 8:26 am
It just tears me apart to hear about kids fighting and succumbing to cancer. I hadn’t heard about Donna Day. Thanks for sharing. I will share and help spread the word!
another jennifer recently posted…Saving Every Baby
katbiggie saysFebruary 25, 2014 at 1:14 pm
I heard about it last year and just happened to catch one of Sheila’s posts that said Donna Day is tomorrow! So I jumped all over it!
Tamara saysFebruary 25, 2014 at 11:12 am
I’m openly weeping and Des thinks I’m nuts.
My childhood friend is a leukemia survivor. I know many aren’t so lucky.
Tamara recently posted…Sunshine Feels Like Being Two.
katbiggie saysFebruary 25, 2014 at 1:15 pm
I know. I was bawling – you know those ugly, sobbing cries, but it just hits so close to the heart.
Heather saysFebruary 25, 2014 at 4:25 pm
Thanks for sharing this Alexa. I found your post via pinterest, but as the wife of a childhood leukemia survivor – we get to see the blessing of the other side. We are so lucky that in the 80s, when childhood cancer was just seeing its first survivors, that people cared enough to fight for this cause. Thank you for sharing for the ones who are no longer here to fight.
Heather recently posted…St. Patrick’s Day Toddler Play Date
katbiggie saysFebruary 26, 2014 at 6:06 am
Thank you Heather. I am so glad that your spouse survived! Until it’s cured, we have to keep fighting! 🙂