Things here have been quiet but everywhere else they’ve been bustling. Moving, producing, directing, homeschooling, writing. It’s a wonderful season. Today I’m sharing something very close to my heart.
An amazing group of Rhody bloggers have come together with La-Z-Boy to host a sit-a-thon for Belle a sweet, fiesty and lovable two year old I’ve known since she was a wee babe. Quiet appropriate for the blogging bunch, don’t you think? Sitting for a cause? The weekend will be filled with lots of family friendly activities and every penny from donations and our auction will be given directly to Belle’s family. You can find a line up of the weekend’s events here. This is her story.
On New Year’s Eve just this past December, I called a friend of mine to see if we were still going to the movies to watch Les Mis. Her daughter, Belle, had a terrible stomach bug and had been sick on and off since Christmas, like so many kids that time of year. I wanted to make sure she didn’t need to cancel to nurse her baby back to health. When she answered her voice was shaky.
Leukemia, crying, me sobbing, are they sure, she’s staying in the hospital for the next month, spinal tap, chemo, she’s just two.
I didn’t know I could be so instantly shaken by a phone call. I had to pull over. Wasn’t Belle just fine a few weeks ago when we had a playdate? She was fine over the summer at the playground. She’s been fine the entire two years we’ve known her. This can’t be. Her mom cooks everything from scratch and cloth diapers and believes in feeding her kids healthy and sneaking in a cake pop here or there. Her brother is fine. No child deserves this. Not her. Not them.
I went to the hospital that night and saw their brave faces. No tears just strength in the face of the unthinkable. The beauty to emerge from this has been the overwhelming support this little girl’s family has received since that fateful day.
Meals planned for months on end, bracelets sold in her name, fundraising events, prayers, visits, donations, a photography session, toys, clothes, love.
It is inspiring to witness a community rise to the occasion for one of its own. And by community, I don’t mean just individuals who knew this family but strangers whose only tie to this family are a compassionate heart and, perhaps, being a parent themselves or knowing someone who has fought the same fight. The road is long ahead of them and, unfortunately, expensive.
This is the cost of a one month hospital stay for a two year old with leukemia. This family is more fortunate than most because they have health insurance. However, and it’s a big however, they are still responsible for a portion of the expenses incurred. After her initial one month stay, Belle went home and adjusted well to life back in familiar surroundings. Then she went back into the hospital, caught a fever and needed to stay another week. She went home again and today finds herself once again in the hospital, with no idea how long her stay will be. This is Belle’s family’s new normal. The cancer will not up and leave one day. It’s a long, arduous process of helping her body fight, day by long day. Doctors tell them it’s at least a 5 year journey they’re on before they can, with any certainty, declare anything our hearts are wishing for.
To put into perspective the financial needs of a family fighting cancer, you have to consider all the expenses they face. There are the expenses they’ve always had – a mortgage, insurance, food, clothes, fuel, car repairs, home repair, pet care, school needs for their kids – all the things us non-cancer fighting folks always have to deal with. Add to that the cost of cancer – out patient chemo, unexpected hospital stays, medications, time off from work, unforeseen procedures and complications, unexpected arrangements for your other child while you take care of your sick daughter, and a list of things I can’t begin to imagine.
Rhody Bloggers for Good are determined to help Belle’s family by raising money to support them on their journey. We’ve set our fundraising goal high and believe every single donation counts. There are two ways to lend a hand. First, come on down to our sit-a-thon the weekend of April 6th. There will family friendly activities and an amazing array of auction items. The other way is by making a donation to Belle’s donation page.. Every single penny counts.