Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Don't Turn Away, It's Donna's Day

Something happened to our family one year ago.

An idea, one spark of life, an acorn seed, was planted inside our hearts.
One day. One moment. One decision that will touch us forever.
One chance to make a difference.
One opportunity to be a part of something greater than us all.
One day, decorated in memories BUT beaming with HOPE, that ONE DAY children will not die from cancer.

Surely by now you know her story. If not, visit her mama Mary Tyler Mom. Donna's Cancer Story has reached into the hearts and souls of many, giving a face and name to our hero. I first met MTM a year ago when we shaved our heads for St. Baldricks in honor of Donna's Good Things.

I've written quite a bit (for someone who never blogs) about the effect Donna and her story have had on my family: as parents, as shavees, as friends and as advocates for children's issues. She touched my heart. She is family, even though I never knew her physically. She is our Donna and she is our inspiration.

We love her as if she were our own because she could so easily BE our own. At least her story could be.
The reality is that every 3 minutes a child is diagnosed with cancer.

And that is scary.

But not hopeless. Give hope.

This year I am not shaving my head. Neither is my daughter, son and husband. And I feel tremendously guilty for that! How can I not be fundraising? How can I know what I know and not ACT? How can any of us TURN AWAY? I even hid from the internet for a while. I have a fear of uselessness.

But every 3 minutes chimes in my head.

We all have a voice and we all have the ability to become acorns for Donna. We can all plant seeds. Some of us will shave and some of us will give, some of us will paint and some of us will share. Most of us will weep and many of us will rejoice. Hopefully, more of us will empathize than will relate. But we can all do SOMETHING.

For Donna, because it's HER day. If you are able, PLEASE donate and help other children in Donna's name. DGT has already raised almost $200,000 for cancer research. DONATE HERE!

(I'm not a real blogger. I'm not even sure anybody will see this. Really, THIS below is what I want to say. And I guess I believe that words somehow find their destination, if you say them out loud)

Dear Donna,

I never actually met you, I didn't get the chance. Can you believe all this? You're a world famous dancer. We all know your name and your ridiculously adorable smile. And your strength. You are a WOW. Just like your mom. The love she has for you inspires us all. She will NEVER let you disappear or your life be unimportant. She is funny and rambunctious, serious and brilliantly smart, silly and beautiful. She commands an audience and then presents the best of you. Her love for you radiates in everything. 

I get that. My first born, my daughter, has my whole heart. She is my very best friend and I am SO proud of every thing she does. She shaved her head last year to raise money for Donna's Good Things and let me tell you, middle school kids are ROUGH. But she didn't even flinch. First born daughters are tough stuff. I think it's a rule! Here's her picture: 

That's her with her little bro. He shaved his head too, but it wasn't a big deal because he's a boy and boys shave their heads all the time and nobody says anything. And that's not fair, but that's a whole other story!
Anyway, she got a LOT of questions about being bald and do you know what she did? She told a LOT of people about YOU. She also told them about children and cancer and how little money goes toward research and how many children are diagnosed. And she told them about Donna from Chicago.
Donna, you made her feel strong when she could have been scared.
Do you know how powerful that is?

It really is. POWERFUL. You have touched our lives in ways that words could never do justice. And I want you to know that I love you for that. I love you. I think of you when I look into our woods and the wind blows against the oak trees. Thank you for what you have given this world. And continue to give. I will never turn away from you. Or hope.

Pinky swear :)
Miss Jeanna

Give to St. Baldricks, Do Not Turn Away