Checking in with Kiersten…

 

 

Hope

Noun

  1. 1. A feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.
  2. 2. A feeling of trust.

Synonyms: aspiration, desire, wish, expectation

Verb

  1. 1. Wanting something to be the case

Synonyms: expect, anticipate

Every spring there is a feeling of hope. After a long winter the sounds of birds and spring peepers, the sights of bulbs starting to peek through, the budding of trees. It all gives us signs of things to come; the longer days, the tentative warmth in the air. We see the signs everywhere. We look for those fleeting signs of things to come and soon enough the flowers are in full bloom and the leaves on the trees are there in all their glory. It sneaks up on us and it makes us wait all at the same time.

Hope is something we all need in dark times. Hope that we will get through. Receiving a diagnosis of Cancer is never an easy experience. When my son was diagnosed in June of 2001, I knew even before the doctor confirmed my worst fears. My husband thought I was crazy when after seeing my son’s bruises that I felt he had leukemia. I’m not sure why or how I knew but I did. The blood test just confirmed what in my gut I already knew. Then that meeting with the doctors…the one where they told us the kind of cancer…ALL or Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. They told us if our son had to get a cancer it was the best one to have. Even in that devastating discussion, there was hope. The statistics at the time, 85% cure rate-Hope. It’s what I had to have to survive the long surgeries for port placement, for bone marrow biopsies, for lumbar punctures, for chemotherapy treatments. Things that made my son so sick, I had to hope that they would help him survive.

It was a dark period in our lives. We had just left our home in New Hampshire where we had friends and a support system. We were living with my husband’s parents in Buffalo while we were building our home in the Rochester area. We felt alone. We leaned on our family and of the comfort of strangers, families we met in the hospital, the social worker. The outpouring of love and support we received was amazing. We received gifts for the children from a church in Pennsylvania where my in-laws hailed from, gifts and stickers and activity books from our friends back in New Hampshire; a special blanket for the cold hospital, a stuffed bear and a soft stuffed horse to hug from friends. All of these things gave us hope. Hope that we were not alone in our fight. Hope that we would have support regardless of our move. The kindness of family, friends and strangers alike were what helped us get through those dark days.

I think that is why the work we do at CURE speaks to me. It is about giving families the hope they need to get through those dark days that parents inevitably feel when their child is diagnosed. I see it in a family’s eyes when I first introduce myself as a parent of a survivor. They know I get it. They know I have been there and they see that our family has made it to what they ultimately hope for; for their child to be cured and get to live the life that they dreamed for them.  I explain that my son is surviving and thriving and I see it in their eyes-Hope.

While I still wish my son had never had to experience what he did, I look at what our family went through and know that we are where we need to be. Helping others who are walking a similar path and I am thankful that an organization exists where we can do just that and hopefully offer them what I needed-Hope..