Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Evan Almighty in my life...

here is how i was introduced to the world of blogging - not as a writer of a blog, but as a first time reader...
i was searching for a new sewing machine back in 2007 and for some odd reason,  the first link that popped up on my search was for someone's blog. i had never read a blog before and suddenly felt nosey for digging in to this person's journal-like website. however, as i read more about her sewing creations, another topic appeared in her post - Chemo Angels. i quickly forgot about the sewing machine and became engrossed in reading about the purpose of this group - here is the description from the website:

"Chemo Angels is a volunteer organization dedicated to adding a ray of sunshine to the lives of those undergoing IV chemo treatment. We believe people going through the physical, emotional and mental rigors of chemotherapy deserve some encouragement... Our common denominator is a desire to brighten the lives of cancer patients while they are going through this challenging time."

missing my days of teaching special education, i welcomed the opportunity to make a difference in someone's life. i eagerly signed up as i still loved the hobby of sending notes and cards through the good old snail mail and it gave me motivation for making the handmade notecards that i at the time seemed to make quite often. the commitment required sending weekly cards or small gifts to a person with cancer. how difficult could it be to show love and support and a few kind words and rays of sunshine for a stranger? my aunt had been diagnosed with breast cancer just a few months before so the shock of cancer affecting a family was suddenly close to home to us.

how hard could it be? WOAH!!! ok, i thought i would get a woman, most likely in her 50's or older; someone who was older,  stronger, and wiser than me and who, despite cancer, she was going about her daily life as though this was just a temporary fork in the road. why i assumed this, i have no idea! when i was accepted as a chemo angel, i was assigned to a precious 5 year old boy with stage 4 high risk neuroblastoma! when i got his information sheet, i was an instant puddle...for days.  i really wanted to quit before i even started, i admit, i wanted to wimp out. i had one year old twin girls at the time and reading about another child's struggles on his caring bridge site and linking to his various little friends' websites who were stricken with this same illness, i just became an emotional wreck each night as i got online to check on this little guy.

but i toughened up, and let me tell you, this little boy, EVAN,  has made a big dent, for the better, in my life! the letters began, the cards were sent, the family Christmas cards were exchanged in which i received my first letter from his mother with so many enlightening details on his progress and challenges, and a chicken-scratched colored picture from the little kindergartner. BUT the best gift, and so unexpected when beginning this experience, i got to meet my little hero that following summer in '08 when his family came from Alabama for a California vacation. AND then again in '09 when they returned for yet another vacation. his mom and i would be fast friends if we were neighbors - we could gab for hours, and when we first met, it felt so good to be able to ask her the questions that lingered in my mind each day 
"how do you go to sleep each night?"
"how do you keep your faith?"
"how do you explain to evan when his little friends lose their battle?"
how do you cope, hope, stay strong, believe, breath...etc, etc....
they sound like such blunt questions, but it was heart warming to be able to get to know her in this way and to allow her to be the mom who has to bear all of this for her child. i just can't imagine the strength it must require.

evan is now a third grader, is living in his "home-home" as they call it, meaning he is not having to live in the homes provided at st. jude's hospital where he spent much of his time in the first year. he is silliest kid you've ever met and not the least bit shy! he had his make-a-wish wish come true to "be a star in my own tv show" and if you want to see this little boy, grab a chair and watch  his tv debut - it's a hoot!

is there any room for any more cuteness in this kid?

a few pics from our visit this past summer in san diego...

the girls hanging out, watching the seals, with their friends evan and adam in la jolla

and even little iz gets some love from evan...

the most admirable mother ever, melissa...

and in this picture, i pray that we were looking deep into evan's happy and healthy future!

i really just wanted to introduce you to this powerful kid i've fortunately crossed paths with and i am not intending to plug Chemo Angels, but I am sure they can use many of you creative people who love to make, create, sew, draw, write (hmmmm....that pretty much means all of you bloggers), paint, shop (and if you are female, that too pretty much means all of you), spend time showing some love and support -- you get the point - believe me, it's a pretty remarkable experience. you sign up thinking you are going to make the difference for someone, but watch out, these fighters will be the ones making a difference in YOUR life!
if you get the bug to sign up, please let me know - i'd love to know all about your journey!
...and say an extra prayer for Evan tonight too please.


  1. I've always admired you for doing this, knowing that it must be so heart-wrenching. It's great to see that Evan is growing and seems happy! What is his current prognosis? I hope he's doing well!

  2. wow.. that is powerful. god really brings people together in amazing ways. what a blessing for you and for him! that is a great story. i am so looking forward to our OC get together!! :)hope you are staying dry right now...

  3. Oh man. I didn't expect to be crying at the computer so early this morning! : ) What an awesome little guy and a wonderful experience for you, Jennifer! I'm gonna check out the link and forward it to a couple other people....Thanks for sharing!

  4. Now I'm a puddle over here! My daughter was hospitalized last spring, and we were lucky that it wasn't anything serious - dehydration from a really bad flu bug. While we were there though, I just kept thinking of the parents going whose children were there full-time. It was just heart breaking for my husband and me. God bless you - you are doing an amazing thing!!

  5. Wow you touched me on this one. I've been wanting to do something like this with my girls. I'd like them to give some love to someone who is less fortunate. I'm going to check into the program. So glad it touched you. God always has a plan for us, doesn't he?

  6. jainey and i have signed up! thanks for the inspiration...again! you inspire me in so many ways, jen!


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