A Childhood Cancer Survivor Blogging about the World of Childhood Cancer

Posts tagged ‘Stand Up 2 Cancer’

Justin and Avalanna, Mr. and Mrs. Bieber

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








Broken hearts.

News today of Avalanna’s passing is heartbreaking. This beautiful little girl has captured the hearts of millions of people who have come to know her as “Justin Bieber’s wife.”

This morning,

RIP Avalanna is trending on Twitter.


Avalanna’s Story from Stand Up To Cancer


Avalanna’s bravery, her exuberant personality, and her sheer loveable-ness needs to become a part of all of us. We, as adults in this complex society, tend to focus on the little daily things that pester and annoy us. When we look into the face of Avalanna, when we hear about all that she has dealt with, when we feel the pure, sparkling love spilling from her into our lives, we realize our focus is not where it needs to be. We realize we have a responsibility to respond.

Our response needs to be love for all children fighting cancer.

What joy Avalanna must have received from all of Justin’s love and attention! This really, really touches me. I will never forget what it meant to me to have love and support from someone I looked up to during my cancer treatments—Patricia Barker.

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

My hands began to shake, and my eyes became two glaciers, melting and forming rivers upon my cheeks.

 Patricia Barker . . . oh my gosh. I had watched her farewell performance at the Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle the previous June, in celebration of my thirteenth birthday. She inspired me. Her fluidity, musicality, and strength left me in awe. I was stunned by her grace . . . inside and out. Gasping for breath, I looked to Mom. I remained speechless. There were no words, truly, no words. Soaking up the beautiful moment, I realized that cancer had created it. Well, not cancer itself, but me having it. It was these times that I saw the other side of cancer. I knew I would not be standing there—my body numb, my eyes gushing, and that letter in my hands—if not for it. Cancer is battle after battle, struggle after struggle. And then, something beautiful happens that keeps you going.

 Venturing back into the package, my hand met something hard. The object was not in view, but I knew, from the feel and shape, exactly what it was. The only thing was . . . I didn’t believe it. My mind wouldn’t let me. Delicately pulling the precious gift from its royal sheath, a flash flood occurred in my eyeballs.

It was pointe shoes . . . her pointe shoes.

 To Melinda” was visible on the tip of one shoe.

A gold ribbon tied the two slippers together, creating an almost angelic presentation.

 Oh my gosh. My heart pounded. I could not believe what was happening to me. After suffering so much, I almost felt it was too good to be true, like I didn’t deserve it or anything. My mouth hung open, my breathing was awkward, and my face was hot and red from crying. I lost it—completely lost it. Burying my head in my arms, I cried so hard that it hurt. Never had anything touched me in such a way. To hear encouragement to keep fighting from someone who I admired was breathtakingly unimaginable.

 Her letter was filled with wisdom, hope, and an understanding of what it is like to have a hindrance affect the dance in your life. She also told me that when I beat cancer, I would dance again with a new love and passion. Her certainty made me believe her and gave me a ray of light in the view of my future.

 She concluded by saying, “I will look for you on the big stage of life.”

 Ms. Barker, your words are eloquent, and they’ve had a huge impact on my life. What you did for me will forever remain in my heart.

 I believe Avalanna has taken all of Justin’s love straight to heaven with her. What a beautiful, heart-wrenching, uplifting, and inspiring story of love! My prayer is that this Love Story will inspire many others to open their hearts and give everything inside it away.

 Justin, please don’t stop. You may be young, but your actions show mature compassion and strong leadership. Please keep leading with love.


Stand Up 2 Cancer and Taylor Swift, Turning Tears Into Hope

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

“And we wept that one so lovely should have a life so brief.”

~ William Cullen Bryant

“One so lovely”…

The attention to childhood cancer in last night’s Stand Up 2 Cancer production was HOPE for my spirit. Stand Up to Cancer has partnered with St. Baldrick’s to create a Dream Team; research means HOPE in so many ways. There are children who need treatment options now, right now.

PAC2 brought me this great news in my inbox today! I could not summarize this or explain it any better:

“Headed into last night’s show, while SU2C had funded some childhood cancer specific research, it had yet not formed a Pediatric Dream Team (i.e., larger, higher-dollar, multi-institutional research projects).   There are seven existing SU2CDream teams.  

But yesterday’s show and the collaborative efforts of St. Baldrick’s and SU2C are going to change that.  It almost seemed like the majority of the show was focused on kids!  Having Julia Roberts caution viewers that cancer “kills a child every four hours in this country.”  Having Justin, St. Baldrick’s Ambassador Kid, featured so prominently, having Taylor Swift dedicate her song to Ronan, and the hearts touched by Avalanna’s story are all giant leaps forward for childhood cancer awareness!!  Reaching a nationwide audience no matter what channel you tuned in!!  Leveraging our ‘normal’ audience an order of magnitude, or two!! 

 Hopefully a prime example of Awareness–>Funding–>Research–>Cure”

Thank you to PAC2 for always bringing us updated news!

Taylor Swift’s song to Ronan:


When we see the faces of childhood warriors, the youngest among us who fight cancer, they seem to always, always have a smile, even when their suffering is great. While they suffer, they think of others. They don’t want others to be sad because of their suffering. They don’t want to be their suffering.

“People know me for my happiness. I don’t want people to think of me for sadness.”

~ Jack Bartosz (August 24, 2012)

And so these brilliant spirits among us teach us strength. They teach us about courage and about what is truly important in our lives. They teach us not to be petty, or mean, or frustrated. Instead, their characters lead us to better ourselves. They lead us to the paths of compassion, gratitude, acceptance, and pureness of love.

I love them. I love these children with every speck of my heart. For this reason, I am one very happy Melinda! Stand Up 2 Cancer has stepped up to the plate for the kids!


Taylor Swift…

I keep searching for the words to thank you for your beautiful song, but it’s hard for me to see the screen while I type– and there are no words. If you could see the tears falling over my cheeks, you would instantly know the extent of my gratitude. Tears of the gratitude type speak volumes. Thank you!

To all of my AMAZING nurses, and to all the others… Thank you!

Did you know you can Be a Part of The Cure?!









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