Without internet connection for two days, I feel there is so much I have missed sharing!
Very first, I want to thank Tiffany at New Orleans Children’s Hospital for helping me to be able to meet individually with children fighting cancer and their parents. This is the very first time I had the opportunity to go to each room to meet the children. I will be entirely honest with you when I tell you that my intention– each time I entered a new room– was to share hope with everyone I met in the room. By the time I walked out of each room, it was me who was inspired by the children. Each child, from little bitty ones, to teenagers, gave me something in my heart that I cannot even describe with words, as hard as I search for them. I met a one-year-old boy who had spent eight weeks in intensive care, with kidney failure and liver failure. Yet, there he was, sitting up by himself in the window seat of his room, like a real-life miracle. He was a bit timid at first, but when I showed him a photo of me with no hair and a therapy dog, he relaxed and smiled. The teenagers I met were very different than the little ones. They have a much greater understanding of what they are facing, and I could sense their fear. When I pointed to their beds and told them I was right there where they are three years ago, I could see their expressions change.
I could see HOPE.
And this is why Mom and I are traveling on this mission. We want HOPE for all of the children fighting cancer. We want less toxic treatments that will allow more children to live and to live a healthy full life after their battle. More people need to come forward to help, just like Benji Palus. I had the amazing opportunity to meet Benji at New Orleans Children’s Hospital when I was finished meeting with the children. Knowing how Benji volunteers hours and hours of his time to help children at the hospital, I imagined he must be quite a special person. When I actually got to meet him, his warmth, joy, and love far exceeded my expectations. Is there anyone who would like to hop on board the stop childhood cancer battle and become Benji-like? These hospitals need volunteers like Benji; the children need them and the parents need them. Sorry about the photo posts– click to see the whole photo!
On Friday night and Saturday, Mom and I attended the American Library Association Conference. To our great surprise, we met someone who helped us through my cancer treatments. When I was first diagnosed, my social worker, Robyn, gave us books and information. One of the books was written by a mom whose child survived cancer, and her name is Nancy Keene. I can see many of you who have lived in the world of childhood cancer nodding your heads like you know exactly who she is. Well, she and her lovely daughter, Allison, had a booth at the conference and Mom and I nearly screamed with delight when we saw she was there! We spent a long time talking together, and meeting her was the absolute highlight of the whole conference!
Today, we arose quite early and pointed HugoHopeMobile toward Atlanta. We traveled from Louisiana, through Mississippi, through Alabama, and into Georgia. Tonight, we are plopping into our beds in Atlanta. Tomorrow morning, we’ll be rising and shining early to go to Children’s Hospital of Atlanta. After that, we’ll continue northward to North Carolina. Unfortunately, I heard back from Duke Children’s Hospital. and I have to be eighteen to be able to visit with patients.
Looks like I will have to use my time there wisely. I have an appointment to look at the University. Dr. Kleinerman told me some very great things about Duke University! I will be filling out college applications this coming fall.
One way or another, cancer, I am out to stop you!