Sunday, July 19, 2009


So I refuse to do this (unlike a certain former big-headed co-worker who likes to drop the F-bomb on a regular basis, OK, I'll just say it, ROB) on Facebook but feel like I can get away with doing it here. It is MY blog after all. And I really can do whatever I want, right? Are you wondering what it is? Are you sitting there hollering, "Tell us already! Come on, I can't take the suspense." Or is there no one reading this but Michael, and that's only because I made him and he really, really loves me? And Michael is used to me burying the lead. OK, now I'm being really mean and realizing that once I tell you what it is that I refuse to do on Facebook but plan to do on my blog will really be a super-duper let down. It will, but here goes anyway -- POST MY STORIES.

I'm such a nerd.

Anyway... here's the link and here's some behind the scenes:

On Friday, I met an amazing little girl. I was bemoaning having to do this story -- about a no-name foundation building a deck around a pool gifted by a big-name foundation for a girl who was dying of cancer. I thought, "Oh, how uplifting. Sad, dying girl gets deck. That's going to be a great story."

Instead, when I show up I'm greeted at the door by a vibrant, smiling young girl wearing a hot pink shirt with green accents. Those are my two favorite colors but that wasn't the reason my poo-poo attitude about this story shot out the window. The girl who answered the door was as bald as a cue-ball but looked as healthy as any other 11-year-old girl. She got her mom who ushered us in as she frantically went around finishing getting ready. The little girl -- Christian -- plopped back down on the over-sized red sofa and continued shoveling down Ramen noodles and laughing with her BFF Grace about the current "Suite Life" episode on Disney. They were gushing about how in six hours, 54 minutes and 12 seconds the "big episode" was going to be on where it was Hannah Montana, the cast of Wizards of Waverly Place, the Suite Life and other teen dream sensations were all going to be on the same episode.

It was spooky. I had been told this girl had only weeks of "quality life" left and only months of actual life remaining yet she reminded me of any other tween I'd spent half of my teen years babysitting.

A few minutes later her mom joined us, harried rush past her and perfectly coiffed hair bouncing above her shoulders. She sat across me on the loveseat, Christian and I on the couch adjacent to it. Tia, the photographer started snapping pictures. Neither Christina (mom) or Christian were phased. With Christian less than an arm length away her mom started into her story.

In January 2008 she was diagnosed with neuroblastoma. The only symptom was a droopy eye. They were told they needed to get to St. Jude's Hospital as soon as possible and the family of five hopped in the car that night and drove to Memphis. There she went through eight rounds of chemotherapy, 15 days of radiation and surgery to remove a tumor from her adrenal gland -- 10 months of torture for the little girl and her family. They were told in September 2008 that she was cancer free; an answer to so many prayers the faithful family had put out. But in May -- just two months ago -- she was given a death sentence. The cancer was back and had ravaged her already war-torn body.

Doctors only gave her a 33 percent chance of survival the first time around. The second time though, they said there's no chance for survival. But Christian wasn't done fighting. She gave it another go with experimental drugs but it made things worse. Doctors said there was nothing left to do. The more-mature than her years Christian said, "No more. I just want to enjoy the life I have left."

So that's what the family is doing. Her mom said she feels the family is blessed. That statement instantly made me cringe, which she said it does most people. "How could we be blessed when we know our daughter will die a way too early death?" But Christina said her daughter's strength and faith has taught her and so many countless lessons. The girls short life has affected so many.

Back to the pool and deck -- Christian continued to shovel in the noodles as her mom spelled out the diagnosis and journey of the disease. She seemed unaffected. She was just hungry and ready to swim. Soon she and Grace put on their brightly colored bikinis, and we all headed out to the pool -- which was supposed to be the topic of the story.

I get chills recounting the meeting. She was so positive, so vibrant, so energetic. Doctors told the family she'd have at most three months of quality life. That was nearly three months ago and she's shown little to no signs of slowing down. And doctors said she'll probably be dead before May rolls around next year. Christian isn't thinking about that though. Instead, she said she's enjoying what time she does have, especially in that pool of hers.

The story in Sunday's Town Talk talks more about this wonderful little girl.


  1. I post all sorts of things on my blog that I don't necessarily want all of Facebook to see. The anonymity of a blog is a wonderfully freeing thing.

  2. I glanced at the front page when my Father in law was talking about the girl (she is from Colfax right?) but I didn't get a chance to read since he was hogging the paper!