We had a busy August doing “trikes” in honor of Megan’s love for the lake. A few of the highlights include finishing a week of serving lunches to 350-400 kids each day, leaving sand buckets at the lake, hiding pinwheels at the park, giving out 400 tootsie pops to kids in exchange for kindness ideas, making free root beer floats at a local pool, “Cup of Compliments” give away and handing out free dog toys at the beach. One of the dogs we met at the beach was named Henry!
Our “First Friday” for September is powerful and written by Henry’s mom, Marla.
“Mrs. Friedler, Henry has leukemia“. I remember hearing these words as I fell to the floor of our living room. Our pediatrician on the other end of the phone was telling me to get Henry to the hospital as fast as possible. The first few days remain a blur, but a few moments will forever be with me. Falling to the floor is one of them. The next memory, looking up the stairs and seeing Lucas holding our baby, kissing him and crying. Our world was turned upside down. Once Henry was admitted to the intensive care unit, hooked up to breathing machines and large IVs, we sat in a small room with our new oncologist. I remember her telling us that Henry had infant leukemia, a rare form of cancer. She told us he had a 50/50 chance of survival. Our son’s life was a coin toss. I remember her eyes, full of uncried tears, as my tears ran down my face.
After we were moved from ICU to the oncology floor, we settled in. We were told we would be spending most the next year on that unit. The small rooms seemed extra small, knowing that it would be our new home. On our first Tuesday, a woman wearing a purple shirt came in. She brought a harp with her, and asked if we wanted music. I was hesitant, but soon, Henry and I were dancing to “itsy bitsy spider” played on the harp. We learned it was a program from the Children’s Cancer Association called Music Rx. Every Tuesday and Thursday, we would be serenaded by guitars and drums, joyful people sent to make this horrible situation a little better. We looked forward to those days.
The CCA also set us up with our Chemo Pal, Christina. This young woman would come into our room, or meet us at appointments, bring her bag of toys and a big smile. She would help us all forget about our circumstances, and fill the room with smiles. She allowed Lucas and myself to step away, and entertain Henry.
In November of last year, when we knew our time with Henry was short. The CCA rented us a house on the beach. Henry’s favorite spot. It allowed our entire family another memory to share. Henry died in my arms on December 20th. We were sitting on the couch. That’s another memory I will never forget.
Unfortunately, we are not alone in our fight against cancer, nor the loss of our son. Every year in the US 13,400 children are diagnosed. That’s 42 kids a day diagnosed. 42 parents falling to the floor, hearing the words that will forever change their lives. Worldwide a child is diagnosed every three minutes. Childhood cancers are the most common cause of death in children. Approximately 12%-25% of children diagnosed with cancer will die. These statistics are daunting and much money is needed to research better treatments. But what helps in the moment of dealing with this, is the music. It’s the smiles, It’s the people like the CCA helping you remember for a moment that good memories can happen, even in the worst of circumstances. I can’t say enough good things about the CCA.
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month. Please take a moment to think about it. Approximately one in 300 kids will get cancer before they turn 19. While waiting for research to help find a cure, help make kids and families experiences a little brighter. Help…donate to the CCA.
So our call to action as a brigade this month is simple. Donate!
You can donate directly to CCA at http://joyrx.org/donate
(they have a comment box where you can make a note that you are donating in honor of The Red Tricycle Brigade)
You can also support CCA by going to our webstore at https://squareup.com/market/the-red-tricycle-brigade
We are selling a special kid’s shirt. We call it “The Sidewinder” and it has our “Kindness…that’s how we roll” logo printed on the side.
It’s only $10 and the entire amount will be donated to CCA. Supplies are limited so get yours today.
If you are unable to donate at this time, that’s okay too. Just make sure you make someone smile each and every day!