“Your child has cancer.”
One sentence. Four words. One phrase that can bring your world crashing down, and life as you have always known, comes to a halt. Words that no one should ever have to hear. And suddenly, the light that was once so bright at the end of the tunnel…dims.
A little over two years ago, two of my very best friends had those four words said to them. What they thought was just going to be a late night in the doctor’s office trying to figure out why their little girl STILL wasn’t feeling well, turned out to be a life altering evening. How do you respond? What do you say? Oh, and did I mention that they had a brand new, two day old baby that they had just brought home?
Unimaginable for so many, yet here were Andrea and Jared, pushed right into the middle of this devastating news. Where do they go from here?
When I got the news, I immediately felt helpless. How in the world can I help them? I watched their little Leah for the first 4 years of her life…and now I was unsure of what I could even do for this little girl that I treated as one of my own.
Be there for them. That’s all I knew to do. Be there to listen. Be there to be a shoulder to cry on. Be there to bring a smile to their (once smiling) faces. Sometimes, I was just a person in the room…but I was there, because I know that they have always been, and will always be there for me and my family as well. Because that’s what friends do…we are there when times are good, and we’re there when times get tough. That’s when friends are needed the most.
A group was started called Free Leah’s Butterfly. Since Leah had her port placed under her skin in her chest, she has referred to it as her “butterfly”. So, it has been the mission of everyone involved, to free her butterfly. To kick cancers butt.
Over the last two years of chemo treatments, lumbar punctures, spinal taps, port surgeries, doctor visits, late night trips to Children’s because of a fever, pure exhaustion…literally saving their daughters life, I have watched my friends handle this situation with such grace and composure. This has been their “normal” for the past two years. Yes, tears have been shed, the “why’s” have been asked, and the frustration has brewed. But, they have taken on the ugly beast we have come to know as “Cancer” and fought back…and they have fought back hard, especially Leah.
You see, that tunnel that turned dim…the one that almost blacked out…well, it’s back, and it has a light. Tomorrow, Leah will receive her final chemo treatment. The end of the road that seemed unreachable two years ago…even 6 months ago, is here.
They made it. They made is together, as a family. A family that has become even closer through this.
They pushed and pushed. They moved forward. They fought, and fought some more. Gave, and gave some more…even when they had nothing left to give. They put everything they had, into saving Leah.
Now, they are looking into the tunnel and it’s bright. They overcame. I’m so proud to call these people my friends…my family.
So, here’s to Jared, Andrea, Leah and Grady; YOU DID IT! I know the last two years have been some of the hardest that you will ever endure, but you have come out in the end…Shining. Shining, not only because of the bright light that illuminates your tunnel, but because that’s what you guys have always done.
You have Freed Leah’s Butterfly.