This blog post is written by my best friend, my sister by choice, Jenny Rodda. She is the wind beneath my wings. Not like Barbara Hershey’s behind-the-scenes friend to the famous starlet Bette Midler. But she is the air that keeps me afloat when I threaten to hit bottom. Through Wes’ diagnosis, and many other tough times in the last 13 years. We dream of growing old together, complete with sitting on our front porches in houses next door to each other talking about “kids these days” in our paisley shirts with plaid pants with purple hair. She told me shortly after I called her about Wes’ diagnosis that going through this, with us being so far apart (it’s a 6 hour car-ride), might just break her. This beast called Cancer has a far-reaching ripple effect doesn’t it?
Cancer. Yep, 1 word, 6 letters. Easy to say and throw around. You see it on the news, internet, magazines, doctor’s offices…pretty much everywhere. Seems like such a small word really. Until you throw other words in front of it like: Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma or Myelogenous Leukemia or Bilateral Retinoblastoma. Then it becomes harder to utter. Harder to imagine. Harder to stomach.
But for some families it becomes the norm. Explaining what the big scary words mean to family and friends. As a matter of fact, their vocabulary increases exponentially with words like Cryotherapy, Enucleation, Leukocoria, Carboplatin, and Vincristine.
Cancer – little word, but also a life-changing-world-turning-upside-down-wish-you-had-a-moment-to-catch-your-breath-head-spinning disease.
I hate you cancer.
Angie and I have been friends and sisters by choice for over 13 years now and boy, oh boy, do we have 13 years of stories to tell. But now we are starting a new chapter. Titled, “Wes is kicking Cancer”. It’s going to be a long chapter and there are so many characters in it. Doctors of all shapes and sizes, Grandparents, Social Workers, Friends, Insurance counselors, Business partners, Therapists, Strangers who comment on your blog, Nurses, Football players, Geneticists, Co-workers, Business owners, family. The list is immense. A common character trait for each of them: LOVE.
Love for one another, love for what they do, love for complete strangers, love for Wes.
This love wraps the Schuldies’ right up and holds them in a big ol’ cancer-fighting bear hug. This love means the world to them. Literally. It helps keeps their world on it’s axis and helps to keep it from spinning out of control. I see all the comments or acts of kindness people are doing to help my friends and it humbles me, it lifts me up, it gives me hope.
This love is immeasurably important. Don’t stop sharing and giving it.
But, (and here is the ugly but) cancer doesn’t just affect families physically and emotionally. It affects them financially. If you have ever had the pleasure to meet the Schuldies’, you already know that they are amazing, kind, and humble people. They give and put so much of themselves out into the world. I am a better person just for knowing them. And you saw that I mentioned Humble right? The Schuldies’ have had to make the big adjustment in life of accepting help from others but one of the harder things to accept…Money.
Well, the truth behind all this business is that during this journey Jake will be the only one working and collecting a check. Angie has stepped back from her business to dedicate all of her energy in caring for Wes full-time. Jake is in a new job too, and with that there is waiting periods for benefits, out of pocket insurance premiums, and deductibles.
There are so many little costs that add up throughout this process that when added to the big things it becomes confining and overwhelming.
I don’t want to see my friends suffer. I cannot make cancer go away; I cannot make them not worry. But, I can do what I can to help ease that financial burden. I’d give them the world if I could but I don’t have enough money to give them on my own. It gives new meaning to the song, “I wanna be a millionaire” for me.
I can ask for your money though. When I said the little & big things add up…that goes for donations too. Whether you skip your Starbucks one morning and donate the $5 you would have spent to Wes instead, or you choose to stay home one night and spend time with your family or loved ones instead of spending money on dinner, drinks, a movie – donate that to Wes instead.
Wes doesn’t understand the enormity of everything happening around him…but his parents do. Your donations do matter, whether big or small. $20 might mean some extra gas they need to get back and forth to the hospital. $5 might be a meal that they have to eat when spending days and hours away from home for tests and treatment.
It’s easy to give. Just click on the PayPal link below and donate with a checking account, debit or credit card. You can also go by any Chase bank and donate there.
If you can’t afford to give money…that’s ok to. They still need the love that you give.
On the donation flyer I put together I called donations hugs with dollars signs. I truly mean it. So get to clicking!!!