A Childhood Cancer Survivor Blogging about the World of Childhood Cancer

Archive for November, 2010

Waiting to hear from Make-A-Wish

I haven’t heard a word from Make-A-Wish… not even one word. I have decided I won’t analyze things, or stress about what this means or doesn’t mean. What is meant to happen will happen. Okay, I will admit that I am a teeeeeeeeeensy weeeeeeeensy bit encouraged because I did not receive an immediate, “NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” As each day goes by, I also admit that I imagine myself as a fly on the wall at HARPO Studios as Oprah’s producers scratch their heads and nod at one another in agreement that a show on childhood cancer would be AMAZING!

Okay… imagination is rolling…

After a information-filled Oprah Show that includes CureSearch, Children’s Oncology Group, St. Baldrick’s, and so much more, then Oprah can announce a great big surprise! Oh my gosh, I can see it now– I can really see it!

Oprah announces that her Angel Network is going to build the BIGGEST, BADDEST (yes, BADDEST!) most utterly powerful Childhood Cancer War Machine ever imagined by humankind! She tells her audience how her heart has been moved to make a huge difference in the lives of children with cancer in our country and throughout the world. Oprah goes on to tell all of us how material things are “of this world,” but helping find a cure for childhood cancer is permanent, lasting, and the most worthwhile of all of her missions here on Earth.

It is, in fact, the mission of a true angel. I am still wishing, still hoping, still praying… for Oprah to be the Angel I am seeking.

Oprah Please Do A Show On Childhood Cancer - Our Kids Need Your Help

Sir Maxwell Kinkaid Nunn The Great

Having my brothers home from college over these past few days has been so much fun! We had a great time at Gramma and Poppy’s on Thanksgiving Day, and we packed in a lot of other fun things, like beach trips and laugh fests.

As fun-filled as this holiday has been, there has been something that has weighed heavily on my heart. The little boy I have written about before, Max Nunn, traveled to heaven on Thanksgiving Day. I know this will sound very funny to most people, but I am not sad at all for Max. I am actually relieved for him that he is no longer suffering. At the same time, I am heartbroken for his family who has to find a way to live their lives without him. I have no doubt that the Nunn family will use their love for Max to continue his mission of raising money for childhood cancer research. The way Max’s family came together to support him through his illness was remarkable, and I have no doubt that their loving family mission will lead to an enormous leap forward in the fight against childhood cancer.

Sweet Max, forever 7, my life is better because you touched it with your love. I never met you face to face, but our hearts have met over and over. We share so much more than our battle with childhood cancer. We share our passion– we share our mission– to stop childhood cancer. Max, your precious hands are at God’s side now…  I ask God to please help guide my hands and my heart here on Earth to see that our mission lives on.

Off in the future, people will look back on history and smile when they read about the little boy who fought cancer with everything he had, not only for himself, but for all other children who would have to follow. And the history books will call this boy who inspired millions in donations that led to research for a cure:

Sir Maxwell Kinkaid Nunn The Great

Christina McGrath

Gobble Gobble!

Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday! It makes me feel happy, warm, thankful, and full of wonderful goodness. As you already know, I don’t have to search far for a gagillion reasons to be thankful. My gratitude list begins at the very basics– breathing, walking– you get idea. I know, for sure, that this will never leave me. Having come so close to losing my life, I will forever be aware that we forget to be thankful. We just plain forget.

One of the things I am most grateful for this Thanksgiving is also what I am most excited about. Nicholas and Dean will be home from college. I can’t wait to laugh with them, play Mario, sing “Under the Sea,” pick apples at the apple farm (gonna have to drag them here, but I know they’ll have fun,) walk out on the Avila Pier, go to the Avila Barn and play in the hay maze, take Larry on long walks, and explore the great outdoors in as many places as we possibly can!

On Thanksgiving Day, my family and I are going to my Gramma and Poppy’s house. They prepare the most delicious Thanksgiving Feasts, and even better than their Thanksgiving Feasts are their warm, kind, and loving hearts. It always feels like I am wrapped in a great big blanket of love when I am at Gramma and Poppy’s. Gram will be making her traditional Steamed Date Pudding with hard sauce. She needs to make threee times the sauce, and I have been trained since I was a wee one on how to dip the spoon in the sauce and turn it around just right so that all the sauce ends up on the pudding and not on Grams’ fancy tablecloth:) The bowl with the sauce gets passed around and the entire family will comment on the skills of each “Twirlee.”

Speaking of food, I love cooking and baking. Today, I created my infamous “Buns.” Nicholas gave me a breadmaker a couple of years ago (when I was in my mad, mad world of gourmet food preparation frenzy,) and I make these amazing Buns. While the Buns were rising, I whipped up three pie crusts with intricate leaves I made out of the dough all around the ridge of the pie plate. Mom finished up, putting two pumpkin pies in the oven. Tomorrow will be apple pie day:)

Are you licking your lips and dreaming of stuffing and turkey and pies??????????

Now that I have you in the Holiday Spirit, I will close with this video my mom took when I performed as a soldier at a community event promoting  the Civic Ballet of San Luis Obispo’s Nutcracker.

Nutcracker Soldiers Perform at Apple Farm:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5nqvIchtlk

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Thank you God for each and every one of my tremendous blessings. Help me to always be thankful and to always give from my heart.

Grace: A Child’s Intimate Journey Through Cancer and Recovery (Coping With Illness) by Melinda Marchiano Book Club Discussion Guide from BookMovement –Book Clubs, Book Reviews, Discussion Questions, Book Lists

Grace: A Child’s Intimate Journey Through Cancer and Recovery (Coping With Illness) by Melinda Marchiano Book Club Discussion Guide from BookMovement –Book Clubs, Book Reviews, Discussion Questions, Book Lists.

I Met Jenna Bush Today!

The exclamation point at the end of my post title tells you how excited I am about meeting Jenna Bush today:) Each time I recall this morning, I smile and my heart feels happy.

My mom noticed an ad in The Tribune earlier this week. It said that Jenna Bush Hager was scheduled for a discussion at the Performing Arts Center at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo (exactly where I will be performing in The Nutcracker in a few weeks:)) on November 8th. I remember her questioning the date, and then she concluded that the paper must have made a mistake on the date and that it had to be today.

We dragged our weary little bottoms out of bed in the deep darkness of morning and prepared to travel north to San Luis Obispo. I brought along a copy of Grace: A Child’s Intimate Journey Through Cancer And Recovery to give to Jenna (yeah, right… like I would really get the chance to do that!!!) Mom and I joked on the way there about how this whole adventure reminded us of setting out for Solvang to look for Lance Armstrong so he could sign my port jar– like a needle in a haystack, we found him. Not only did we find him, but we somehow managed to accomplish our mission, despite the massive crowds.

As we walked to the entrance of the Performing Arts Center, there, over to the far side of the entrance, was none other than Jenna Bush. She was with a photographer who was taking her photos, one other man, and that was all.  Mom quickly assessed the situation and figured that the man with them was most likely Jenna’s “Security Person.” After walking over to this “Security Person,” we found his name to be Cornell, and he was very friendly. Mom explained that I had a gift to give to Jenna and what it was. Cornell responded with an open heart, kindness, and care, asking us to wait with him until Jenna was finished with her photos.

And then, I met Jenna Bush Hager.

I have to tell you that my excitement is not because I met “Jenna Bush,” but because of the person I learned that she is from my experience talking with her. Her smile is brilliant and when she looks at you, she looks straight into your eyes and soul with genuine care. I am still deeply moved by the way she stopped everything– even though she was scheduled to speak within minutes– to ask me thoughtful questions about my book. She is a lovely, beautiful woman, and I feel blessed to have had our lovely talk.

Just in case you don’t know, Jenna is a contributing correspondent for the Today Show, and she’s chair of UNICEF’s Next Generation whose purpose is reducing preventable childhood deaths worldwide. Jenna’s book is “Ana’s Story,” and I am really looking forward to reading it.

To Jenna’s parents, former President Bush and Mrs. Laura Bush, what a beautiful daughter you have raised! You must have given her lots of love, because she sure does have a lot to share.

I am extremely grateful she chose to share it with me today.

Dear Oprah…

Dear Oprah,

I thought long and hard about what I want to do for my Make-A-Wish—where I want to go, who I want to meet. It seemed to be the toughest decision in the world. Each desire that popped into my head left me feeling even more indecisive, and I was left searching for what I truly wanted.

Then, it came to me; it was so obvious. I want awareness. I want better care. I want understanding. I want hope. I want a voice for all of the kids and families who are too beaten down by cancer that no one can hear their cries. People know very little about childhood cancer and greater awareness will lead to earlier detection and SAVE LIVES.

I wish with all of my heart and every fiber of my being that someone, at last, educates people about childhood cancer. My wish is, in fact, not just a single desire, but the wish of thousands and thousands of people.  Yes, childhood cancer is sad, but if we acknowledge it, face it head on, and make everyone aware of it, many children’s lives will be saved and many parents will not have to lose their child.

My wish is the single most passionate, heartfelt desire I have ever known, and with your help, I am hoping and praying that it will come true.

With my sincere appreciation for considering my wish,

Melinda 

In her book, Grace: A Child’s Intimate Journey Through Cancer and Recovery, Melinda Marchiano offers an honest and inspiring portrayal of her cancer experience through the eyes of a teenager and proves there is medicinal value in love and laughter.  Melinda and I share a common bond.  We are survivors.  And we believe in the importance of empowering fellow survivors to live life on their own terms.  By sharing her story, Melinda is giving a voice to this global epidemic that needs immediate attention.  I am grateful to Melinda for having the courage to speak up and for her generosity in helping others fighting cancer.   – Lance Armstrong      

Grace: A Child's Intimate Journey Through Cancer And Recovery

 

                                                               

My Make-A-Wish

Make-A-Wish is one amazing organization. What they do for children who have been diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses is beyond kind. I love reading stories in the paper, or seeing them on  TV, about children receiving their wishes. I imagine all of the pain, suffering, and despair they have endured and it makes the smiles on their faces mean everything to me– and I am sure it does to them too!

I have been contemplating what I should wish for a very long time. Yesterday, I submitted my wish to Stephanie– my wonderfully thoughtful and warm Make-A-Wish representative. This is what I wished for:

I’ve decided on a wish!  I want Oprah to do a show on childhood cancer. =)  I want it to be very clear that I am not wishing to BE on the show.  I am asking that she grant the wish of the 45,000 + followers of the “Oprah, Please Do a Show On Childhood Cancer” Facebook page.  This would lead to greater awareness and SAVE CHILDREN’S LIVES.  This is my most heartfelt and passionate wish yet!  I hope that you are doing well, Stephanie!   Hugs!

-Melinda

 http://bit.ly/br6Mrg

KSBY 6 TV Childhood Cancer Awareness Oprah Facebook Movement:

http://www.ksby.com/news/local-teen-cancer-survivor-joins-facebook-plea-to-oprah/

If you knew that you had only one wish, and you knew that with that one wish you could save children’s lives and lessen their suffering, wouldn’t you wish the same thing? How can I, knowing what I know about how desperate the need is for awareness, early detection, less toxic treatment, and funding for research, not make this wish? 

I would love  to see the National Cancer Institute make a huge change in their budget– to appropriate much more than the measly 3%  that is currently allocated for all childhood cancers. Seriously people (there I go again, addressing all of humankind:)) this is pitiful. Are children a priority in the United States of America?

How about children who are fighting for their lives against cancer?

I believe I have made my point…

 

 

Pin The Bag of Chemo on the Mass

 

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