Two years ago, the dance studio we are a part of dedicated their dance year to kids with cancer. All the competition teams “adopted” kids with cancer, showering them with gifts and dancing in their honor along the way. It was a beautiful year of dance. Not only did we have a purpose for what we did, but we got to meet some incredible children who should never have to deal with the daily horrors of cancer. It really was a life-changing experience for our kids and for our dance family.
But then it got too close to home.
In early October, it was discovered that my four year old nephew Eli had a form of childhood cancer growing in his abdomen. I can’t even begin to tell you how it felt to hear that word applied to this fun-loving little boy. Cancer?! That’s something that we’ve experienced with grandparents and older aunts and uncles. Not four year old little boys who like to play Mario and eat jelly beans. Even worse, this special little boy lives in a completely different part of the country. It’s not like we could just dash over and over immediate support. So we’ve been supporting and praying long-distance.
It’s been an insane couple of months. Every day our thoughts turn to Eli and how he is doing today. He immediately began chemo to work to shrink that tumor. He went through several weeks of hell, terrified of those needles and all the throwing up. We learned the seriousness of being immuno-compromised with low white blood cell counts. This past Monday he finally was able to have surgery to remove the tumor, though it remains to be seen if more chemo or radiation will be required. He’s SUCH a trooper. He is spending the week in the hospital recovering from having his entire abdomen cut open. He will be watched carefully for infection and for pain.
This adorable little boy has been through more in the last two months than any child should have to go through. And on top of all that my sister’s family has had to go through dealing with this, they have recently learned that insurance will not cover everything. While insurance will cover most, for a young family, the expenses when dealing with cancer add up quickly. When your child, who is fighting cancer, spikes a fever, you don’t just give alternating Tylenol and Advil and hope it goes down. You take the temp twice. Wait a few minutes. Take the temperature again. Call your mom to see what she would do. Take the temp again. Then call the doctor and make the trip in to their office if it’s open, or to the ER if it’s not. You don’t stop to think about what a trip to the ER is going to cost. This fever could be life-threatening and needs to be checked out. And to hear that as they may be nearing the light at the end of the tunnel that insurance is NOT going to cover all the expenses of this nightmare they have been living? It’s just too much for any family to have to deal with.
So I thought I’d take a moment to share with you Eli’s story, and to share an opportunity in this season of giving for YOU to make a difference and help Eli’s family emerge from this trial victorious in every way. Eli’s family has set up a fund through Generosity.org, which is an online giving platform in which 100% of every penny donated goes directly to the family with the need. There are no administrative costs, no hidden fees. When you give ten dollars, that ten dollars goes right where it is needed. Any money donated will go straight to those medical bills, which are piling up quickly. Should the fund go beyond what is needed to meet those expense, any extra is going to be given to the charitable organizations that reached out to my sister and Eli and have made such a difference for them and their lives these last few months.
Many times in the past I’ve used this blog to advocate for something near and dear to my heart. It doesn’t get much more nearer and dearer than my nieces and nephews. I love my own children with all my heart, but there is something special about each and every one of my nieces and nephews, and to have such a sweet one go through such a trial… Would you please consider helping Eli and his family out this holiday season? Every donation, no matter how small WILL make a difference. Thank you, my dear friends. The link below will take you to the generosity page, where you will see yet another adorable picture of this little guy fighting the fight of his life.