All this week at my school, in my small town of less than 15,000, our students have been collecting money for Breast Cancer Awareness. You know how dear this cause is to me if you have read my previous posts. Not only is my daughter a breast cancer survivor, but last spring we lost the mother of one of our students to breast cancer. Shannon's family has established a memorial fund to help other families suffering from cancer.
Our school chose to help raise money for her memorial fund. So last Friday our students were told about the event. I created PINK Ribbon jars for the classrooms and on Monday the money started pouring in. I mean, literally. All week money was brought in. The students were instructed NOT to go door-to-door. The money was only to be brought from home: from piggy banks, spare change, whatever they could get from home. Everyday the excitement mounted as the students saw their classroom jars fill to overflowing!! You see, they were also working for a prize...a PINK PARTY. The class that collected the most money is going to be treated to a party with only pink treats: pink pencils, pink wristbands, pink footballs, pink erasers, pink crispy treats, pink lollipops, pink drinks.
At the end of the day yesterday, Thursday, I collected all the money and took it to the bank to be run through their change counting machine. A clear winner was determined and I brought all the cash back to my office to count it. OMG!! $1,030.03!!! In just four days!! It brought tears to my eyes to realize what great kids we have in my little school of 265 kids. I have always known they were great. I just didn't realize how compassionate they could be for a cause that they know has touched me and several family members of our school. And this morning, I have kids are bringing more and more change. I am overwhelmed. But now I must stop and start counting money. The kids are anxiously waiting to see who wins the Pink Party! Come back for an update!!
Congratulations to Ms Hunt's 1st grade class! Their class raised almost $300!! The students in the whole school raised over $1300!!!
Way to go Roosevelt Roadrunners!!
Have you ever had a time in your life when nothing seems right?
You have done all you think you can do?
Just one more thing might push you over the edge?
I was having one of those periods in my life when my son-in-law sent me a text.
My son-in-law is a wonderful daddy, the kind of daddy that reads the bible with his girls on a regular basis. After reading a passage from Psalms one night, Maddie was playing on the floor
and re-creating the passage with her toys and blankets. Then she said this:
"You know Daddy, reading God's word is like combing your hair
and getting all the knots untangled from your life."
My day became suddenly brighter.
I wonder how many yards of pink ribbon I have used in my lifetime?? How many spools of pink thread?
Pink ribbons bring back sweet memories of chubby baby legs in pink tights, pink satin ribbons in pony tails, fuzzy pink pajamas, pink prom dresses and pink roses in a wedding bouquet.
Now, however, pink ribbons have an entirely different meaning to me. Since July 16th of 2010, pink ribbons have meant Inflammatory Breast Cancer to our family. That was the day my daughter Nikki was diagnosed with cancer.
I don't want to linger on the challenging parts of that year or on the three surgeries since then. I want to relate, instead, the remarkable story of courage that Nikki has shown us all.
Nikki is a second grade teacher in a Texas elementary school. She has followed the path of many family members into the field of education. And she is a good teacher. Really good. She has very high expectation of herself and of her students. She is an amazing mother and wife. I am so proud of her, if you can't tell.
So, out of the blue Nikki is diagnosed with cancer. Well, not really out of the blue. She knew something was wrong for 3 months and the doctors kept telling her it was an infection, mastitis. Not until she insisted and fought for it, would they send her to a specialist. And our worst fears were confirmed.
As a mother, so many thoughts went through my head. My first instinct was to hold her and love her and then to help her cope. Through long days and weeks of chemo, I visited her every three weeks, making the 600 mile round trip to Texas from my home in Kansas. She would work at school Monday through Thursday, have chemo on Friday, recuperate a little on the weekend, and go back to work on the following Monday. Her principal, staff, parents of her students and church friends were amazing. They brought food and cleaned her house while her husband took full responsibility for everything else. And through it all, she smiled. She smiled for her own children, Ashley and Maddie, who would lay in bed with her and watch TV. She smiled for her students when she lost her hair. She smiled for me because she didn't want me to worry. And she smiled for God.
I'm not saying it wasn't hard. I'm not saying she didn't cry. I'm not saying that there weren't valleys of despair. It WAS hard. She DID cry. There WERE very deep valleys of despair. But she never quit believing that she would be healed. She had a very strong faith that God would get her through this darkness. And he did. One year ago this week, she was declared cancer free!!
So at the end of this month, I am making another trip to Texas. This time it is for a celebration:
One year CANCER FREE and Nikki's 40th birthday.
Yes, pink ribbons have a different meaning now. Last year they still meant cancer.
This year they signify
HOPE, COURAGE, FAITH and CURE!
PS. Get your Mammogram!
My hero, my daughter Nikki.
I have always liked the color pink.
If you would look in my closet you would see many items that are pink and its various shades.
So when I gave birth to a baby girl I was delighted to be inundated with mountains of pink blankies, pink jammies, pink clothes, pink shoes, a very special pink 'cat' and an over abundance of pink ribbons. Over the years Nikki and I created many pink items for her to wear. I specifically remember a pink one-shouldered dress that she wore for one of her first 'real' dates.
It seems like it was just a hair's breadth of time before I found myself helping her pick out pink roses for her wedding bouquet. It was a joyous time and holds many cherished memories for me
In a few years Nikki gave birth to her first little girl, Ashley, and three years later her second, Maddie.
So the 'pink' continued. Clothes...shoes...jammies...ribbons.....
But two years ago the pink ribbons that we took for granted took on a whole new meaning for our family. Nikki was diagnosed with an advanced case of Inflammatory Breast Cancer. And the pink ribbons took a new shape and significance. Now the pink ribbons remind us of hope, courage and faith for Nikki's healing.
And so now it is with great JOY that I can tell you that Nikki is apparently cancer free! Her last test results were awesome. She is very vigilant about her heath care and checkups but we are rejoicing every day.
I am currently in the process of creating 'pink' items for Nikki to sell in a fundraiser as she prepares for the Susan G. Komen 3 Day Walk in Dallas in the fall. I will share more about those items in a later blog.
So please excuse me as I end this blog for today. My sewing machine is threaded with pink thread and it is calling me to make a "pink stitch" or two!!
My hero, my daughter Nikki.