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Golden Light

September 1, 2014

“May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out.”

– J.R.R. Tolkein


It’s September. Things are busy. Really busy. Kids are transitioning back to school. I am working overtime trying to make and laminate little picture schedules for each of my three, trying to get a new routine in place, communicating back and forth with new teachers, trying to help them to understand the needs of my little crew while trying not to make it sound as if I am trying to tell them how to do their job, getting a new year of Girl Scouting underway, and planning something spectacular for my kids. (And apparently writing a lot of run-on sentences!) It is a busy time of year for everyone.

But I am reminded to be grateful. Grateful that my children are healthy enough to go back to school right now. Grateful that the seemingly endless rounds of doctors appointments are just monitoring, watching. Grateful that even though Mary is being closely watched by the hematology team, she is not considered an oncology patient. Grateful that even though we had a brief scare in preschool, Troy’s counts came back normal and we were able to disregard the enlarged spleen. Grateful that the countless tests they have run on Mary, searching for cancer, have all come back negative.

People will often ask why they should be “aware” of a disease, especially if it doesn’t directly affect their own family. Why should they care? Why should they pin a ribbon somewhere or change their porch light, if it doesn’t affect them personally?

My answer: Because it didn’t affect these families personally either. Until one day it did. Until one day that doctor walked into the exam room and told them four little words that rocked their whole world. “Your child has cancer.”  Can you imagine? Can you even fathom the sheer terror that must come with such a statement? Can you imagine the helplessness? Because until that one day, it didn’t affect them either.

It’s September. It’s the last weekend of summer. It’s a time for barbecues with family, jumping off a rope swing into the lake one last time, catching a leaf as it falls from the tree, sitting next to a fire in the back yard sipping on a glass of chardonnay with good friends. But it’s also a time when a certain group of families asks you to do something very simple. To pay attention to their children and their fight. To put a little gold ribbon on your shirt or on your bag, or maybe change the bulb in your front porch light to gold (which supposedly helps keep the bugs away at night too, so win-win. ) Even if you don’t think this affects you.  Awareness leads to funding and funding for research leads to treatments and hopefully one day a cure. But awareness does something else too. It brings community. It brings light into the darkness. It brings hope. And I can’t imagine a moment when community, light and hope would be more needed than when someone hears those four terrifying words.

So, what can you do? Go to the fabric store and get a little bit of gold ribbon and a safety pin. And stick it somewhere. Then, when someone asks you what it is, tell them, it’s for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.  Well, gee, does that sound too easy? What, no bucket of ice water to dump on  your head?  I’m not asking a whole heck of a lot here. Just a sea of gold ribbons. It’s a pretty color, it will match your fall wardrobe. Go for it.

We got a few extra yards of ribbon and made enough for our school. I even got my husband and his fishing buddy in on the craft project.

photo 4 - Copy (4)

Then, if you’re feeling like maybe you want to do a little more, make a donation. I’ll  make it easy for you. Try clicking on these links:

Alex’s Lemonade Stand

St. Jude’s Research Hospital

Band of Parents

Do you feel like you need some numbers? Here you are:


I know a lot of folks who come to this space are special needs parents. Whether it be autism, mitochondrial disease, epilepsy, or a host of other conditions that affect our children. I think that we, as a special needs community, understand better than most, just how important and comforting awareness can be. Awareness does not have to be a competition either. We can celebrate Childhood Cancer Awareness Month in September, and still get out our green ribbons in a couple weeks to celebrate Mitochondrial Disease Awareness. Green and Gold actually go pretty well together- they happen to be the school colors for my children’s school.  So go ahead and get your bling out.

And if you’re feeling generous, make a donation. It can be financial, or it can be a platelet donation at your local blood bank to help a child going through cancer treatments. Or sign up as a bone marrow donor. There are loads of ways that  you can directly help a child with cancer. But you can start with a little piece of golden fabric.

Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.



*I’ve written about this before too:  Light it Up Gold,  September Gold


5 Comments leave one →
  1. Joan Minear permalink
    September 1, 2014 7:49 pm

    Thank-you so much. I always feel just a little smarter. You are a major contributor to the intelligence of adults. Kudos So happy to hear the school year is of to a safe start.
    Love always Joanie

  2. Lori permalink
    September 2, 2014 10:18 am

    Thank You so much for your friendship and support! It means a lot to us and helps us get thru the difficult times knowing we have love and support from family and friends! And THANKS for helping to spread awareness every year for Nick and all the cancer warriors out there! Love you!

  3. Moxie in the Making permalink
    September 11, 2014 1:27 am

    Your writing always brightens my day, and I’d like to nominate you for an award. If you get a chance, would you please check it out?

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