Sunday, December 30, 2007

Comfort & Joy

Georgia got a new little tikes camera for Christmas. Here are some photos she took:

My hardwood floors look fabulous in this shot (not sure whose knees):

And this is the star herself, blowing up the ugliest balloon I've ever met:

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Beautiful Girl

We were at the Camp Trillium Christmas party last weekend.

Georgia was running & dancing.

Isn't she gorgeous?
This photo, and many others of Georgia and Sydney, was taken by Lars Hagberg. Lars lives near us, and is helping us to participate in The Cancer Project.
Every time I see this picture, it takes my breath away.
Hey--Syd is still selling bracelets like mad, and Global News was here last week interviewing her for a feature story to be aired Christmas week--we'll be shouting out the air date once we know it.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The James Run/Walk

It was a beautiful day on Sunday. Crisp. Sunny.

The family of Elgin Fraser was there. This run was in his memory.

The participants in this charity run varied. There were world-class runners there: a few who are training for the olympic trials, at least 1 who has qualified for the Boston Marathon. I believe the fleet-footed finished the 10 k run in 32 minutes.

There were students from the University, since the run was being held on the lovely Trent campus. There were local recreational runners, warming up and going the distance.

And there were families. Neuroblastoma families.

Although the 3 young men with 'Fill the minute . . ." on the back of their shirts were inspiring for their strength and dedication and speed, I think of something completely different when I'm among the friends of James and I think of filling empty minutes.

We did the 5 km walk as a family. G rode in the stroller, Charlie trotted along on his leash. Sydney walked, skipped & ran the whole way -- and she's the only one who didn't want to nap on the way home. I guess that's her gymnastics training showing.

Afterward, the Birrells kindly invited several of the families and their close friends for lunch. The food was fabulous ! Charlie made a new friend. And Georgia trolled around the house, completely at ease. If she needed something, she simply asked the nearest adult--and she usually got just what she wanted (including at least 3 glasses of cream soda).

It was a day I won't forget.


Thursday, October 25, 2007

We Like Mike!


Wow, what a year. My computer and I had a major disagreement in January, which resulted in my sending it off to boot camp. It was reprogrammed, but it refused to retrieve my mailing list until I sat down with a bottle of wine and beat it to within an inch of its’ life. However, no wine was injured in the production of this e-mail.

We have had a GREAT 2007! Georgia has had her 18 month, cancer-free check-up (applause). In merely 3 ½ more years, we can use the ‘c’ word (cure) with a bit of confidence, and our fingers crossed.

Georgia has had a few health issues, and parents of children with long-term illnesses will appreciate, they have been more than usually worrisome for us. She has had seizures when she gets a cold, X 3. The first one resulted in a 911 call, an ambulance ride and a long evening in the emergency room. However, Dr. Keene the neurologist (and, if you’re counting, that means Georgia’s 10th specialist, thank God for universal health care), who looks like Santa, has assured us, after the EEG, that they are most likely ‘atypical febrile seizures’. Nothing Georgia does is typical, of course.

She also had a fight with Salmonella, and came out winning. She coined the phrase ‘my bum is puking’ during that battle.

Sydney has also had an amazing year, especially with her fundraising. She was asked to be part of the SickKids fall fundraising campaign—and there is a radio spot now out on the CHUM stations in Toronto. Scott absolutely loved our visit to the recording studio—and it was just like it looks on TV. Sydney’s fans can hear the commercial here:

We are also THRILLED that the James Fund researchers at SickKids are planning a joint research project at CHEO in Ottawa, where Georgia has had her treatment. It was announced to the public at CHEO and the James Fund will be using the proceeds of their November run—the honorary chairman of the run? None other than the Ottawa Senators’ Mike Fisher!

Ladies, he’s as cute as he looks, his teeth are perfect, and he’s a gentleman. The press conference was held in a waiting room that serves the urology clinic, the sports injury clinic and the anesthetic assessment clinic. Before the cameras began rolling, he greeting every child who wanted to say hello, signed shirts and hats and wheelchairs, and generally made time for each person who wanted to speak to him. After the cameras stopped rolling, this nice young man posed for photos with an almost endless parade of smiling women. His father Jim was there, and it’s obvious where Mike gets his impeccable manners and charm. 3 out of 4 Inverary Whytes are now firm Senators fans, and the 4th has agreed that he will cheer for Mike when he’s not winning against the Leafs.

We spent the last weekend of September in Muskoka at Camp Ooch, a childhood cancer camp, for the 1st James Fund Neuroblastoma family retreat—and I daresay, it was the 1st annual. It was a wonderful weekend. I confess, I’m still digesting all that happened and will have to write more about it later. Just be warned, we have more plans! We are definitely not stopping until there is a cure for this disease!

One highlight I can’t ignore—we met a woman who is a 30+ year survivor of this disease. Thank goodness Jennifer doesn’t mind physical contact, because I ended up petting her like a lucky rabbit foot. She’s just such a comfort, and she’s so sweet.

I’m now on Facebook, so if you’re there, please look me up. I’ll also post updates and more photos there.

Cheers to all,

Friday, July 13, 2007

Great Charities for Cancer Kids

I want to share with you some of the great people and groups who have helped us in the past year.

Last year, I saw a post up on the wall of the Medical Day Unit at CHEO about Camp Trillium.

My husband was home with the girls last summer, so we knew a vacation would have to be on a tight budget if at all. What did we have to lose by taking a chance on this camp?

Hmmm. Now I think about what we gained.

The camp we went to, on Garrett's Island, is truly a world away for families dealing with childhood cancer. At Garrett's Island, kids are kids.

We all have the same elephant in the room--and we felt an almost-instant bond with the other families.

The week we spent at camp last year was a huge boost for us all--it reminded us there are many others in our situation, and they are fighting and surviving.

As well as summer camping, Camp Trillium has monthly events for the children all year round--with arts and crafts, snacks and lots of hugs from the wonderful volunteers. If you think that young people these days are not loving, giving and capable of great depth, then you need to meet the Camp Trillium volunteers.

If you choose to donate to Camp Trillium, you will be providing swimming, sailing, canoeing, kayaking, climbing, running, jumping, laughing and healing for children with cancer and their families.

Thank you to Camp Trillium and all your wonderful 'special friends' for memories that will last us a lifetime.


(P.S. We'll be going back this summer, and Sydney will be going on a kid's camp week as well--we can't wait.)

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Don't Pity Me

I can tell when you're doing it. I see the look on your face, and I can tell.

People sympathize, they feel pain with us. Often, they have been through this type of experience--dealing with cancer face-to-face, hospital waiting rooms and random acts of kindness and unexpected lab results. I truly appreciate that sharing look, the understanding look of those who feel that pain and want to make it better.

But the other folks. The ones who are secretly thinking--I'm so glad I'm not you. It's no secret. We, the people you pity, can see it in your eyes. I know you hang up the phone and tell someone that I'm 'holding up remarkably well', or that you 'don't know how she does it'.

Guess what? I don't want your pity, and I don't deserve it.

Don't get me wrong, it means a lot to me when someone will listen to my story. I can't tell you how much strength I've received from friends, acquaintances and strangers who are moved by my family's predicament and our fight against it. Your pity doesn't help fight. It doesn't help me keep going on the days I want to stop and scream. All it does is drain me--and I can't afford that.