A Childhood Cancer Survivor Blogging about the World of Childhood Cancer

Posts tagged ‘Children’s Hospital Hope Tour’

Louisiana, Wow!

HugoHopeMobile brought us from Houston to Louisiana today! There were drivers along the way who waved at us; they must like our childhood cancer HOPE signs on Hugo. Our drive today was filled with “ooooooohs” and squeals as our eyes feasted on the lushness of the land. I had no idea that there would be roads we would travel here in Louisiana that are built like bridges above the bayou waters– and they go on for miles and miles. The city of Baton Rouge had our jaws dropping to our chins as we gazed at the huge port. And most exciting of all was when I saw my very first legit mossy Louisiana bayou tree! 

Tomorrow morning, we will go to New Orleans Children’s Hospital and tomorrow night, we will attend the American Library Association Conference. I am very, very happy that we are receiving gracious replies from the hospitals we want to visit along our way. I am grateful to each and every person at each hospital for helping me on this mission. What mission is this, Melinda, you ask? 

***Each school day, 46 children are diagnosed with cancer in the U. S.

***Each day, 7 children die of cancer in the U. S.

***When children are diagnosed with cancer, 80% have advanced stages of the disease, as compared to 20% in adults. This is due largely to lack of awareness.

***Childhood cancer research is shockingly underfunded when compared with adult cancers

I am on a mission to help these children. They truly need our help. Please think about what you might be able to do– what you might be able to give. Please consider giving money or time. The very best thing you can give is your true understanding. Once you understand, there will be no way you cannot do something, anything, to make a difference for the future of our dear children.

Sorry no photos… the hotel internet connection won’t allow me to today!

Itinerary

6/17 Phoenix, AZ

6/18 El Paso, TX

6/19 San Antonio, TX

6/20-6/21 Houston, TX

6/22 – 6/25 New Orleans, LA

6/26 Atlanta, GA

6/27 Chapel Hill, NC

6/28 – 6/29 Philadelphia, PA

6/30 – 7/2 Boston, MA

7/3 Niagra Falls, NY

7/4 Indianapolis, IN

7/5 Leawood, Kansas

7/6 Denver, CO

7/7 – 7/8 Salt Lake City, UT

7/9 Sacramento, CA

7/10 Home

 

 

 

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Dell Children’s Hospital and Livestrong Headquarters

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

Gosh, I barely know where to begin to tell you about this epic day of the Hope Tour!

Bone dry Texas finally received the rain today that they have desperately needed for months. Mom and I busted out our umbrella and made a mad dash through the pouring rain to HugoHopeMobile and fired him up to head from Houston to Austin. Yes, I it was backtracking, but for very good reason. We had the opportunity to tour Dell Children’s Hospital and Livestrong Headquarters. There is no way we could miss it!

The three-hour ride through lightning and heavy rain seemed to fly. Everything we saw along the road was interesting, and we gut laughed most of the way there and back about the silliest things. When I first saw Dell Children’s Hospital, it struck me how important it is for us to care for our sick children. We were met right as we walked in by a lovely and kind woman, Kip, who took us all around the hospital to see what an incredible facility they have. We learned that Dell Children’s is the only “Green Certified” children’s hospital in the world! Natural lighting, central gardens, and beautiful, spacious rooms make the hospital very child-friendly. All the rooms are private, they have a wonderful library (and librarian– Hi Gabby!) and they also have a Livestrong Survivorship Center. One of our very favorite things we saw was a fire engine X-ray machine!

Fire Engine X-Ray Machine at Dell Children's Hospital

After visiting Dell, we drove to Livestrong Headquarters where we met Leigh for a tour I will never forget. Right away, Mom and I were struck with Leigh’s warmth. I will tell you that Livestrong Headquarters was nothing like my imagination had dreamed up. Everything, from the building, to what was inside, to the way they run the organization, was truly ingenious. It is perfectly obvious that there are extremely sharp people running the foundation, and they do an incredible job. Yes, my word for everything I saw today at Livestrong is INGENIOUS!

 

Topping off our epic day, we returned to Houston and met my mom’s cousin, Kathy and her husband Rusty for a seafood meal I will remember for a long time! Tomorrow, the HopeMobile heads for New Orleans… visiting New Orleans Children’s Hospital on Friday morning.

Hope is a Necessity

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

Lookout motorists, Melinda is—as of today—a licensed driver. Please don’t ask me why I am speaking in the third person:)

The whole process feels like it began eons ago… like I have had my permit since I was three. It was tough to schedule in those pesky driving lessons, and even tougher to brave the DMV for testing and paperwork. But the icky-sticky process is complete, and this Quail now has wings (that is how my brother, Nicholas, describes it!)

While I am on the subject of driving and wings, I will tell you about a trip my mom and I are planning for this summer. I am so excited about this!

I will begin explaining by sharing this excerpt from Grace:

“With self-pity once again sneaking in the back door, I became suddenly distracted by a girl, slightly older than me, walking into the room. She filled the room with her shining smile and warm, radiant glow. Nurse Pam introduced her as Rachel, one of their patients who had beaten Hodgkin lymphoma about a year before. We shook hands, and I noticed her short, wavy hair. It looked cute. As I continued to receive chemo, she approached me, and we began to talk. She told a little about herself, and then we started in on a discussion of treatment and recovery.

“Poor Melinda here has had a tough first round,” Nurse Pam empathized,

flushing my PICC line with saline.

Rachel gave me a compassionate look. She had once been there. I could read it in her soft, brown eyes.

She looked straight at me and said reassuringly, “Don’t worry.”

Her calm, gentle voice was soothing.

“The first time is the hardest, and then it gets easier and easier with each

round.”

I believed her. She had been in my spot a year ago, and I trusted her completely. It is amazing how two strangers, people who have never met, can be instantly bonded by something in the world. Our lives are an intricate web of roads, each an option to go down. Yet, it seems to me that every single person we come into contact with is meant to be. Rachel and I are two humans, plopped down here on Earth, bonded by an unforeseen medical nightmare.

As she waved good-bye, I waved back, feeling like I had known her my entire life. I believe God placed her there that day to give me hope, determination, and courage. Looking to Mom, who sat in a little blue chair, I saw she had tears in her eyes, and that’s when I realized that, I too, had eyeballs brimming with tears. I wasn’t even exactly sure why I was crying. Rachel had inspired me, and her simply standing there, a happy and healthy girl, gave me a picture of my future. It gave me a goal. I was in awe of the way that God created a bridge for us and used one life to touch another.”

Copyright/Melinda Marchiano/ Grace: A Child’s Intimate Journey Through Cancer and Recovery

I will never, ever forget what Rachel did for me the day she visited. She gave me hope. Children with cancer fight and fight and fight, and they need a vision of hope. I want to be able to do for childhood cancer warriors what Rachel did for me. I want to visit with them and spread hope.

As my mom and I travel to visit the children, I plan on writing my next book about our adventures and the remarkably courageous children I meet along the way.

http://www.dosomething.org/project/childrens-hospital-hope-tour

Adorable Isa Mireles/Survivor!

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