A Childhood Cancer Survivor Blogging about the World of Childhood Cancer

Posts tagged ‘God’

Letters to and from Jessie Rees’s Daddy





Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.

~Mother Teresa

From Jessie Rees Foundation Facebook Page 1-24-2013



“My Jessie Journal:: Hi Sweet-Pea! I miss you so much. It has been really hard for us after your one year Heaven date. I think I have been medicating myself with busyness and not really dealing with some stuff that I need to. Bottom-line is I’m mad at God. I’m not turning my back on him but I am mad. It took me years to understand why He let my dad physically and emotionally abuse me when I was a little boy. But I’ve learned there are certain things in life that I won’t fully understand until I’m with you. So I will add that to my “talk to God bucket”. The main reason I’m mad now is the immense residual pain your fight has left on our family. I don’t like seeing your mommy, sister and little bro cry. I just want to take aware their pain like I wanted to take away your cancer. But I can’t. And as a dad that prides himself on being a great “daddy” not being able to take pain away and protect my kids is so hard. Then I think of the million+ other families that sit with the same residue in their heart. I have been able to help some of these families navigate their grief the last year, which is a good thing but I just reminds me of the broken brutal world we live in. This is not heaven!!! There is a little saying that says, “Life Hurts…God Heals”. I fully understand the “life hurts” part and want to believe God “heals” but after months of praying, pleading, begging, negotiating with Him for your healing and then getting no earthly healing it really was hard. So again, I’m left to “trust” in God. My counselor is challenging me to “fall back in love with God”. That seems so distant but sometimes in life there are situations that call for us to move forward despite our feelings and fears. So I’m going to focus on your little motto and message NEGU to keep my momentum going as I repair my relationship with God and strive to help mommy, Shaya and JT. NEGU on God and NEGU on Life is what I need to focus on.  If you get a chance, please visit in my prayers. I would love to hear, “I’m ok daddy”. I know in my head you are but my heart would love to hear from you.  Miss you tons, love your more and I will see you in a “wink”. I promise!

Jessie’s father’s cry breaks my heart. It breaks my heart. Little kids are not supposed to suffer; they are not supposed to die. The emotional damage of childhood cancer is deep, and it’s something so painful that we have difficulty acknowledging it. If we have never experienced the horror ourselves, we feel much better not getting close to those feelings. Those feelings are unimaginable—if we even go to the place of imagining… oh my gosh… it might happen to us!!!

But the trouble with turning away is that this same nightmare will continue its devastation on children and their entire families. We must ask ourselves how we can stop it and then do everything we can, as fast as we can, to get it done.

We need research for cures for childhood cancer. With proper funding, cures are within our reach.

Dear Mr. Rees,
I can hardly see as I write this to you. I will always remember this message of yours. Before this day, I had already dedicated my life to doing all that I can to bring cures for children with cancer. What I want you to know is that your heart has renewed, inspired, and encouraged my fight.
If I may encourage you in your faith, it would be a great blessing. We hear all the time that “God is in control,” but what I would love for you to consider is that He gave all of us free will. If “our will” was to cure childhood cancer, it would have already been done. We are missing what is right in front of us. We have the tools, the resources, and the knowledge. But our will, as a society, is twisted into false perceptions because what we imagine to be truly important is oftentimes nonsense. One example… how much did we spend in the United States last year on cosmetic surgery?  Since I asked this, I had to look it up… $10.4 BILLION…
I am so sorry for your tremendous loss. My prayer is that your pain will transform people’s lives– like it has mine– to help them to make choices based on care, compassion, kindness, and love. I pray you grow closer to our loving, living God. You have made an imprint on my heart forever. I wish there was a way I could thank you.
With hope for all of our futures,

What can YOU do?

Please take a moment to sign this petition:

Light the White House Gold for the month of September to honor pediatric cancer fighters.


St. Baldrick’s Shave


St  Baldrick's Flyer



The Earth is Filled to the Brim with God’s Glory

When my mom and I began this Children’s Hospital Hope Tour, I had high aspirations of writing each night to tell you what happens each and every day. Our schedule has been very tight, and we are filling our days to the tippity-top! There have been many surprises along the way, and we have met people we thought we would never have the chance to meet. When we return home, I look forward to filling in all of the details.

My truest intention on our Hope Tour is to bless the children who are currently fighting cancer to give them hope. My purpose is to give. You know how it feels when everything in you tells you that you need to step out in action? There is no way Mom and I could not set out to complete this mission of our hearts. What I need– and want– to share with you today is how we feel God’s presence each moment of each day… how we feel we are receiving, rather than giving. 

As we drove through upstate New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana today, at every turn, we were overwhelmed with God’s goodness. The beauty of the land that God has given us overwhelmed us again and again, till our eyes brimmed with tears. The great fields of crops and scenic red barns that dotted the land gave me a gratefulness I have not known until this day. Today, I am struck how grateful I am for this Earth God has made for us– for this land that produces the food that sustains us and this land that truly shows us who God is and how much He loves us. 

It is true that He loves us so. It is true that He has filled this Earth with His glory. We need to protect and nourish this land of ours. As our love gift to Him, let’s be good to this land and good to each other.

There is no doubt. I have seen it with my eyes. I know it in my heart. 

The Earth is filled with God’s glory!

God's Glory all around us

The Quiet Place of My Heart


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

This is finals week.  My last final was today! Wow. Wow,wow,wow,wow!

So now, dance performances are over until August and school is out tomorrow.  Sigh…

Guess what I cannot wait to do?

Meet you!!!

I am leaving a week from tomorrow, and now that I have a moment to take in what is about to happen in my life, I feel like I need to go to the quiet place of my heart to seek Guidance.  How can I, little Melinda, leave this world a better place? How does this intersect with my great desire to help children with cancer? I pray that every step of our journey will help kids with cancer. I hope the  children I meet will share their lives with me in their own beautiful ways. I hope while I am gone, you might think about doing something like the following… making lemonade:)



One lovely way to help raise money for childhood cancer research this summer is to make some lemonade and have some fun.

Lemonade Stands near you


My friends at Pablove on Twitter asked me to vote for this boy… I love him!


Finally, one more linky-dinky today…  This is why we need research for less toxic treatments. The treatment is deadly for too many children… one is too many.


Okay… I found one more to share. I want to thank KSBY and Carina Corral.  You always show you care about ending childhood cancer, and I am grateful.  I am really grateful.


Mom and I have tweaked the end of our trip a bit… I will update the schedule soon.  I really don’t own a BullHorn and I probably wouldn’t use it if I had it.  Well, hmmm… there is a situation for just about everything… and I am quite passionate!

I will love to meet you along the way!

I am going to go back now to that quiet place of my heart.

God whispers from the quiet place of my heart.



Literacy, Advocacy, Awareness, Accountability

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

I received some excellent news today from the United Way of San Luis Obispo County. My program, “Literacy and Advocacy Youth Challenge” has been selected to receive a 2011 Youth Board Grant! I am really, really, really excited about this because it means I will have many opportunities to share with students.

What I proposed for my program is to place five copies of Grace: A Child’s Intimate Journey Through Cancer and Recovery in twenty schools throughout San Luis Obispo County, and also speak with the students. For the very first time, students will learn from a survivor what childhood cancer really is. Kids love the world of fantasy— Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter for example. I believe it’s good for children to also get a dose of some harsh reality of life as well so that they are able to become compassionate individuals. I know that many will be shocked by the harsh reality that a child can get cancer and shocked by the harsh reality of what treatment is like.

Notice the word “Challenge” in my title? Yep, I plan to hold a bar as high as I can in front of them and challenge them to use everything they have been given to reach it. I want them to know that fourteen year-olds (and younger) can write books.

“Gosh, if she can do it, I can too!”

Perhaps even more than motivating them to write, I want to challenge them to become an advocate of something. You know very well that I will use this opportunity to tell every student I speak to about childhood cancer and why I am passionate about raising awareness and finding a cure. I will leave it up to each individual to look within themselves for what cause moves their heart to action.

And guess what?

Part of my program is accountability.

The students will be reporting back to me about the actions they have taken as a result of my challenge.

Literacy, Advocacy, Awareness, Accountability… sounds great to me, and I am excited to get started!

With my sincere thanks to United Way of San Luis Obispo County!

Still Rejoicing in Braden's Miracle!


Prayers for Breanna and Crista. Praising God for miracles!

Who Raised Their Hands?

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

Yes, the Floodgates have seriously opened, with thoughts, ideas, and plans riding the rapids while I attempt to find a rudder to control my path. With opportunities opening before me to be able to help children with cancer, I search for the path that will bring a cure. The “Messengers of God” I spoke of yesterday are depending on each of us; their families desperately need our help.

Since the causes of childhood cancers are largely unknown, people speculate as to what the causes could be. Some people blame the environment, some blame genetics, and some people blame God.

They shake their heads and say, “Why does God give children cancer?”

My mom has the best answer for this question that I have ever heard.

This is what she believes, and she will tell anyone who asks!

God does not give children cancer. God heals. She imagines God gathering His children before He sends them to Earth. He explains that He needs some volunteers for a mission. He also explains that these volunteers will have to endure great suffering for His Kingdom, but that they will be a light in the darkness of this World. They will lead great numbers into the light.

Guess who raised their hands?

The “Messengers” did.

God’s Messengers keep inspiring me. I hate that they raised their hands, because of all the pain they endure. I love their selflessness in expressing their love for God and humanity.

I love God’s Messengers.

Messenger Reefie and his Grampa

Golden Canisters of Hope

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

Dear Oprah,

As I write this, nine Golden Canisters of Hope are on their way to you and your producers. There are over 50,000 people hoping, praying, and waiting for your response. Please let your answer be, “Yes!”

Please Oprah, do a show on childhood cancer.

You would think that if children were suffering anywhere, there would be brigades of rescuers who would show up. Yet, the smallest, most vulnerable of our world do not receive this blessing. The naked, ugly truth about childhood cancer is that it is virtually ignored.

I have been “Tapped.” Have you ever felt that God has called you to a mission? You see, I have this gratitude for my life that bubbles over… lives are precious, precious, precious… the love we have been given to share is everything. With this great gift and blessing of my life comes responsibility.  

God has spoken to me, “Show me Melinda. Show me your gratitude.”

There is no greater way for me to show Him how Great He is, and how grateful I am, than to do what He has put before me to help children with cancer.  Although this is my last letter to you, I will continue to do what is before me with ever-growing passion.

I guess that when you answer the nine Golden Canisters of Hope, this will be the same answer for my Make-A-Wish. Yes, the girl who wished for you to do a show on childhood cancer is me.

Once more, I am not asking to be on the show. I will admit that it would be thrilling beyond my wildest dreams to sit in your audience and watch this show happen. Please give me a bit of notice if you respond positively… I will need to find a sponsor… Kleenex!



16 Year-Old Author of Grace: A Child’s Intimate Journey Through Cancer and Recovery


Golden Canisters of Hope on their way to HARPO Studios

The Magic Wand


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

Dear Oprah,

It’s me, Melinda again, with Part II of my “Squeak-Squeak”2011 New Year Letter to you.  I am inspired, motivated, and thankful to be a soldier in the passionate Facebook army of over 51,000 people who are asking you to do a show on childhood cancer.  Suddenly, my “Squeak” is multiplied many times over, with others writing letters to you daily. This is our way of demonstrating the immediate need for action. We are calling upon you because we believe you are the person who will be caring, willing, and able to accomplish the monumental task of gathering together the building blocks of a Childhood Cancer War Machine.

Instead of allowing space to quote statistics today, I will use all of the space to speak straight from my heart. I did not “decide” to become a soldier in this army. This mission chose me; there is no way I can turn my back on the children who are suffering. When I think about the children who will have to suffer in the future if we do not act now, I cannot sleep; I cannot breathe. Not only do we need to act now, but we need to act in a HUGE way!

In addition to being a soldier in the Facebook movement and army to help children with cancer, I am a full-time soldier in God’s army. My cancer story– my life story– is a story of faith, and my faith guides me, leads me, and challenges me to do what God has placed before me to do.

What He has asked me to do is to help His sick and suffering children.

Oprah, I need your help. Just itty-bitty Melinda cannot do this alone. Please gather together childhood cancer experts with members of The Giving Pledge. Make something amazing and magical happen! You hold the “Magic Wand” in your hands.

Please wave your Magic Wand over Childhood Cancer.

I believe in your magic,


16 Year-Old Author of Grace: A Child’s Intimate Journey Through Cancer and Recovery

Getting Ready for a PET Scan

I John 4:7

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God, because God is love.” I John 4:7

I love to begin my Twitter Day with a Bible verse post. I decided that, each day, I will ask God’s spirit to lead me in where He wants me to read. I open to a section, start reading, and when I come upon the verse that strikes me, that is what I post on Twitter. Well, yesterday morning, I chose the above verse. A few hours later, when I arrived home from school, I  walked out to the mailbox to retrieve the mail. Each and every week since I fought cancer, Clearview Methodist Church in Florida has been praying for me and sending me a card of encouragement. The card always has a Bible verse on it.

Guess what Bible verse was on the card?????????????????

No kidding.

It was I John 4:7.

And how many verses are in the Bible???????????

Good one God. Really, really, REALLY good one God! 

By the way, thank you for the spectacular sunset tonight too, God!

Amazon UK and Grace: A Child’s Intimate Journey Through Cancer and Recovery

I was telling my mom on the way to dance today about how I find it so “funny” that people I don’t even know are buying my book. I realize that that is what is supposed to happen, but it’s still a mind-boggling concept. I received a beautiful message today on my Facebook page from a lovely woman who is fighting her battle with cancer right now. She told me that her brother bought my book for her. It was evident from her note that she is a wonderful writer. It’s hard for me to put into words how I feel about what she told me. All I can say is that her words made me grateful for every single drop of blood, sweat, tears, and chemo that it took to create my book. I am humbled by how God can use utterly horrid events and turn them into something that can help others.

Only God.

I would like to share the very first review for Grace on Amazon.UK:

A truly engaging and uplifting book eloquently and powerfully written with complete honesty and humour by a most courageous young lady. A book of words which do not hide the struggles cancer brought into her life but also words of hope, joy and absolute love. A book whose words left an imprint on my heart, whose words made me both laugh out loud and cry but above all reminded me what it is like to live life with my heart. It is more than a book, it is a gift of lessons to us all.

Made my mom cry happy tears:):):)

One more thing I just have to share… I keep telling you what a caring and kind person Jeff Foxworthy is. Here is proof:)

 Thanks Ellen!


Giggle! So funny Ellen, and way to go on the whole patience thing Jeff!!!!!!!!!!!!

Publication Day for Grace: A Child’s Intimate Journey Through Cancer and Recovery

Today is not just like any other day. Sprinkled throughout my normal activities of the day were spurts. You know what I’m talking about! I went to school today like any other weekday, and I went to dance today, like every day of the week, but one– but there were moments when Grace popped into my mind and the spurts gushed forth. They were quite robust I might add:)

I think back to those scribbles in my spiral notebooks that I began just to be able to write. I have always loved writing. Writing was healing to me at that time, and I began filling those notebooks. 

As I was asked to speak and share my story more and more, I realized my story could help people. My mom, God bless her, began typing the 90,000 words that filled those spiral notebooks. I love you Mom… this day would not be without you.

And Matt… there really aren’t any words, so I will say, “Thank you. I will pass it on.”

And Greenleaf Book Group… Hobbs, and Bryan, and Sheila, and Linda, and Jenn, and Kristen, and Katelynn… and Clint:)…  you guys are the best. It has been an honor and a true blessing to work with you.

 And God…  thank you for this blessing of my life. Thank you for this opportunity to share the firsthand voice of what a child with cancer experiences. Thank you for the blessings for your dearly loved children that I know You have planned.

 I love you!

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