If you're expecting this post to be a tear-jerking, heartstrings-pulling ode to my husband on this, the day of his birthday. It's not.
1. He's incredibly humble and private and doesn't like me talking (writing) about him.
2. He doesn't really read my blog (we both prefer it that way) and thus, any sweet sentiments written here would be a complete waste of space.
Instead, it's gonna be tear-jerking in a whole other way. I am going to let you know about another reason January 12th is so special. My sister, Sari, said it best in this Facebook post:
In case you have no idea what I am talking about, let me explain. About this time nine years ago, I was getting ready to have my husband's whole family over for dinner. My mom had been calling me all afternoon concerned because she hadn't heard from Sari (my younger sister) for hours and was really worried about her and had I heard from her. It seems that Sari had taken her two daughters, Alexis (18 months) and Hope (6 months) for their checkups and no on had heard from them since. I told my mom not to worry; those of you who know my mom know that isn't possible.
Unfortunately, my reassurance that all was alright was wrong. Just as my dinner guests were arriving, I got a call from my mom. Sari and Hope were at the Hospital for Sick Children.
Hope had Cancer.
I can still remember the exact moment I heard those words: I told my mom I was on my way, I dropped the phone, and then crumpled to the floor and cried.
Hope was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma, a very rare and very lethal type of Cancer that cruelly occurs mainly in babies and very young children. And the specific type that Hope had was even rarer.
That night, our families spent hours scouring the internet, searching for the world's foremost expert in this type of cancer. It turns out to be a Dr. Susan Cohn who works in Chicago. When we contacted her a day or two later, she had already heard about Hope, that is how rare her case was.
Over the next year or so, Hope went through more than one little girl should ever have to experience in a lifetime. While most babies her age were eating their first foods, her parents struggled to get her to eat any food because the mouth sores from the chemo were so painful. While most babies her age were going to music classes and kindergym, she was in isolation following a bone marrow transplant. But, like her name says, we always had Hope; I can't speak for anyone else in my family, but personally speaking, in the bottom of my heart, I knew she was going to be ok.
Thankfully, my feeling proved true and Hope was OK. I still choke back tears when I recall how, a couple years ago, Sari told me that Hope's cancer doctor told her that she's was no longer her doctor, that her journey with cancer had officially come to an end. A very, very happy ending.
Hope beat cancer.
Today, Hope is more than OK. She's perfect. She's smart and beautiful and kind and honest to a fault. For years, my sister said that Len's birthday was her least favorite day of the year because it was the day they found out Hope was sick. I am glad that she is now able to look at this day and realized what an amazing day it is; its the anniversary of the day Hope started to get better.
In honour of Hope's special anniversary or Len's Birthday or any other of the tons of birthdays out there today, I am asking you to please donate to POGO-the Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario. The reason I love this charity so much is that even if you only donate five dollars, you can see how your money makes a difference. That five dollars can buy lunch for a mom staying with her baby at the hospital so she doesn't have to worry about working.
For more information about POGO or to donate, click HERE
Never give up, Hope!