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Life Within The Journey

Victoria, Age 2½   Diagnosis: Rhabdomyosarcoma

Rest here with me. 

Rest here for a while, 
and I will stay strong for you. 

I will be your rock. 
And you will be mine.

Julia, Age 22   Diagnosis: Ewing's Sarcoma

Making the choice. 

One day, you're looking forward to college graduation, excited 
for your future. The next, your world is turned upside down and it 
feels like nothing will ever be the same. That is how cancer happens. Always unexpected, always life-altering. 

But how someone chooses to face a cancer diagnosis makes all the difference. Though she dealt with months of chemotherapy and weeks of radiation while far from home, Julia's positivity was contagious. She chose to help others, devoting her time to a camp for children with cancer. She chose to continue to learn and grow through her studies. She chose to smile and spread love and gratitude to those around her. Julia chose joy. 

Julia's best friend, Katie, is also featured in this exhibit. 
Sometimes life gives you just who you need to stand by your side.

Brandon, Age 23  Diagnosis: T-Cell Leukemia

I will surprise you.

When a young adult is diagnosed with cancer, he is still treated as a pediatric patient. Pediatric protocols are simply more successful than adult protocols in young cancer patients. But imagine telling a 23-year-old young man that his bed is going to be placed on the same floor as the toddlers and tween girls. 

Brandon handled this with incredible maturity and grace. He accepted his place on the pediatric floor and quietly made it his own. As a mentor and playmate to the younger children, Brandon proved to be a rare and welcome gift in a place that needs all the kindness it can get.

Madeline*, Age 9   Diagnosis: Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL),
Secondary Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)

*pictured on left

I get by with a little help from my friends.

Cancer is not something a child faces alone. Friends are there. Family is there. A team of supporters rallies behind you, and they lift you up every step of the way. Maddie had that team. And whether it was a neighbor organizing meals, or a friend coming to the hospital, someone was always there. 

But, maybe the most loyal friend of all was Maddie herself. Because even when this very brave 9-year-old girl knew what was coming, she made sure that she was there to comfort her team. At the end of her long journey, Maddie was the one who reassured everyone that everything was going to be okay. 

Maddie passed away on April 6, 2016, surrounded by her family and forever loved by her very loyal supporters. 

Caroline, Age 6  Diagnosis: Wilms Tumor

A child's imagination...

Children don't stop being children when they have cancer. They live in a world that is magical and wondrous, a world fueled by innocence and imagination. A child's world has castles with princesses, where animals can talk. A child can look outside, and imagine that treasure is buried beneath the old oak tree. A child can be a famous pop star in the morning, and a superhero in the afternoon. And if she wishes on a star, she truly believes that her wish will come true. 

If only we all had the power to make-believe. Because when everything seems so wrong, it's nice to have somewhere to go where everything is just right.

Michelle, Age 3½   Diagnosis: Wilms Tumor

I will stand tall.

It is overwhelming to be thrown into a whole new world of hospitals and doctors and big words. And like adults, children are unique in how they handle a situation. Some will need extra cuddling. Others will reach out for a hand to hold. A few will seem wise beyond their years, never letting on how they really feel inside. They will stand tall and poised and strong ... and they will amaze you.

Go to:  2015   gallery 1     gallery 2     gallery 3     gallery 4   

Go to:  2017   gallery 1     On gallery 2     gallery 3     gallery 4   

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