Sunday, September 27, 2015
Yesterday was the first time that Rowan and I were able to participate in the Head for the Cure 5K walk/run for brain cancer research. He has friends battling this disease, and he has friends he has already lost to this disease. Yesterday, he walked for them all. Here are some pictures from the event. To say it was bittersweet, is an understatement.
The first team we saw when we arrived was Team Sophia. Sophia is currently battling brain tumors for a second time.
The second family we found was Team Jalene. They were walking for the second time, for their angel in heaven. Jalene passed away March 15th, 2015 from brain cancer. Rowan was signed up under Team Jalene. She was his first inspiration for joining this event.
The third team we met up with was Team Julian. This was the first time they participated in their angel's memory. He passed away on March 26th, 2015.
(even Julian's dog got to participate:)
As you can see, the families Rowan knows span all stages of this horrible disease. My heart fell out of my chest with each hug...praying for, mourning with, and standing for each victim, patient, and survivor's family. It was overwhelming at times.
After we hugged all of the familiar faces, and took lots of pictures with them, a funny thing started happening. Beautiful, warm, strangers, started coming up to Rowan, asking if they could take a selfie with him, buy one of his wristbands, or just letting him know that they follow him online and pray for him. It was so humbling, and so beautiful.
We left the race feeling drained and filled at the same time. It was physically tiring, but emotionally uplifting. We were exhausted, but we would have done it ten more times in a row if we could have. The cause was that important.
Tonight as we were falling asleep, Rowan and I talked about the day in detail. His said: "It was so awesome, but it's not about me. They are the main thing." I asked him what he meant by that and he said, "A lot of people wanted to meet me, or were excited to take their picture with me, but I'm not the main thing, they are...my friends are."
As Rowan and I looked through the pictures, we found something we think is pretty amazing. Look at these last couple of photos of the day, taken after the race. Notice the light running across them.
Rowan said, "That's them. That's Jalene and Julian's angels. They were there. They were showing us how happy we all made them by doing this for them. Isn't it beautiful?!" It is, and I find it especially cool that this light showed up on the photos taken with Jalene and Julian's loved ones: Jalene's brother and Julian's Dad. Thank you for that gift God. I pray it brings some peace and a glimmer of happiness to their families. It certainly did for Rowan and I.
Before we left, Rowan hugged two of his favorite angel's Mommies. There were tears, but there was so much love too. Rowan feels such a special connection with these ladies.
As we were falling asleep Rowan told me, "I know it was so hard for Jalene and Julian's Mom and Dad today. Like, they probably wanted to be there to show them how much they care, but it probably made them miss them even more too. I'm going to try to dream about them tonight again. I hope they have a message for them. If that is all I ever do my life, that would be fine with me...just helping their Mommies feel better. That's all I want to do. That's the job God gave me to do. That's my gift to them."
Hope you all find and recognize the gifts God has given you, and use them to make others happy, and to make the world a better place. That's all Rowan wants to do. It's really all any of us should want to do.
Friday, September 25, 2015
Rowan and I signed up for this year's "Head for the Cure 5K" which will be held in San Antonio this Saturday morning. The Head for the Cure Foundation's mission is to raise awareness and funding for brain cancer. Rowan wanted to do this for Jalene, so we signed up under Team Jalene and will walk with her family in her memory and honor.
As we prepared this week, Rowan and I decided to make a poster for him to carry during the race. He wanted it to honor all of his friends with cancer, so he started making a list. I talked to Rowan a little bit about how important charity fundraisers like this were because only 4% of the National Cancer Institute's annual budget is dedicated to childhood cancer. He was shocked, and said, "That's not fair. We can do better than that. I'm losing too many friends to it." Then he did some math of his own, some pretty amazing math...
"50% of my friends have cancer.
30% of those friends have brain cancer.
and 66% of those friends are in heaven already.
4% is NOT enough funding!"
We cut out pictures of Rowan's buddies, we typed up his profound words, and we made the best poster we felt we could make. One that we hope honors all of his friends, both here and in heaven.
He smiled as he studied each of his friends faces.
Then he read his poster, again...
He took such great care placing each of the pictures...
and each of their names...
Here is the finished product!
Rowan is honored to represent such an amazing group of children. He is happy to fight for them, he just wishes it didn't have to be for this reason.
We hope the HFTC race is a huge success Saturday, but we also hope that Rowan's message gains attention at the race, and beyond. Because Rowan is right... 4% is not enough, not when my son has buried more of his friends as a child, than I have as an adult. It's not supposed to be that way. As Rowan said, "we can do better than that".
Two cancer organizations that Rowan and I support are:
Donate if you can. If you cannot, please pray for more support and funding for pediatric cancer research.
This post is in honor and memory of Rowan's friends who have battled or are battling cancer.
He's walking for all of you, but Jalene, you inspired him to do it.