Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Image of her Courage

On Sunday, my baby Jayden was talking too much during our Sacrament meeting service, so I took him out to the foyer.  While I sat with Jayden, another family with three little girls entered and sat on the couches across from me.  Their baby and my Jayden started yelling back and forth to each other.

During one of the hymns, I welcomed them and asked them where they were from.  They told me they were coming to go to Disney World, Sea World, and Universal Studios through Make-A-Wish Foundation.  My heart dropped.  I could see that one of their children had some health issues, but I did not pry.  I gave well-wishes for them to have a wonderful time.

A few minutes later, they asked me if I knew anything about Gatorland because they could receive tickets to go there as well.  I left my seat on the couch and sat right next to them to tell them all about Gatorland. (We were just there the day before!)

As we chatted, the older two girls made me and Jayden some special little pictures with stickers all over them.  They talked to me about the importance of being kind to everyone- even those who are mean.  They were the sweetest little girls in the world.  They told me all kinds of stories about their pictures.

Then, the oldest daughter stood up right in front of me and said, "Do you know why I walk with a little bit of a limp?"

I said, "No sweetie, I don't."

She responded, "It's because I have cancer in my brain."

I couldn't help it.  Tears welled up around my eyelids, and I tried not to let them drip.  I told her how sorry I was for her, and then I told her about my mother's fight against cancer with her shield, helmet, and sword.  The little girl giggled heartily.  I rubbed my hand on her sweet, little arm and told her that her laughter was very healthy and would help her in her healing.

I asked her how old she was.  She said she was 7 years old.  I told her my son just turned 8 and will be baptized in a few weeks.  She said, "... and I will be baptized in a few months.  I am trying really hard to do my best; but when I turn 8, I don't want to make any mistakes."  I assured her that we all make mistakes, but that was wonderful she was trying so hard.

I could feel how hard the whole family was trying; although, I could also feel that they had always been this kind and good.

When the little girl was busy doing other things again, I asked her father how long she's had brain cancer.

He shared their story:

In July, her sweet little face began to droop on one side, and they took her in to get checked.  She had possibly had cancer all her life- they don't really know, but they received the diagnosis shortly after.  Her father said the prognosis would have been the same if they had found it years ago because of the type of brain cancer that it was.  It intertwined around her brain stem, so there is no way to operate.

Oh my heart ached as just a piece of the pain of what this family has endured over the last few months entered my soul.

He continued his story sharing the many miracles that have come into their family since the diagnosis:

*His friend told him about a job in Utah which would give them health insurance.  They decided to move their family and take the job.  Their health insurance became active just a month before his daughter's diagnosis of brain cancer... just in time.

*In 2008, the father felt a very strong impression that he needed to do something differently in order to make more money.  He went back to school (I think to get his masters).  His higher education brought him a higher paying job.  Because of that, their family is able to pay the huge out of pocket expenses.  They would not have been able to afford even those with his other job... again, just in time.

*He then told me that his little daughter is receiving an experimental type of chemotherapy.  There were only 65 doses allowed in the entire country.  Their daughter received the 65th dose... just in time.

I learned so much listening to this father share the miracles he has received.

I promised him that my family would be praying for their little girl.  I hugged his wife; but strangely, I felt strengthened by her returned hug.    We invited them for dinner, but they were on their way for a relaxing day at the beach.

They left church without meeting anybody else.  I walked towards the door as they left feeling helpless.

I have this little girl's face deeply imprinted on my mind.  I never want to forget the image of her courage.  She stood strong, stated her trial in life; and then just as courageously, proclaimed her greatest desire... to do her best.

I am praying several times a day for her.  I know you do not know her name, but please pray for her as well.  God knows who she is.