I am a grandmother. My name is Loretta Streber. I have five grandchildren, who are all the most precious things in my life.
However, my most precious gem is my granddaughter Meghan. From her earliest days, we shared our love of reading and writing. At the age of 3, she would curl up on my lap and I would read grown up poetry to her. She loved epic poems such as the “Highwayman” best of all. We wrote “books” to each other and shared stories. She was and still is a “gifted child”.
Meghan had not been feeling well during her freshman year at the University at Buffalo. It was 3 months before a diagnosis was reached. I will never forget the sunny day at the end of April, when my daughter Laurie called us and said “Mom, it’s CANCER”. That dreaded, horrible word. We were devastated and despondent. Meghan was inpatient at Strong Children’s Hospital, where my husband and I spent every day, feeling hopeless and trying to hide our feelings from the rest of the family, especially, Meghan. It turned out she was handling the treatment, the bald head, weight gain better than the rest of the family. She responded to treatment and went into remission quickly after her journey started. Eight years later, she is cancer free and in the doctoral program at the University at Buffalo.
What helped us through those awful 2 years? CURE. The Parent Advocates were there daily with the non-medical help. Bags of things that an 18 year old college freshman would need and like. Sometimes just to talk and bring a ray of sunshine. There were times when we would hear laughter coming from Meghan’s room when a volunteer had been there. Parking tickets were available to those who needed them. Financial help from donations was also available for the less fortunate cases.
Why do I volunteer at CURE? I can never pay back all that our family has received from this wonderful organization. It is run by people who do not do this job to get rich. It is truly a calling to help children who would otherwise be without. It is offering books, Christmas and Hanukah presents to those whose other children would have a harder time dealing with the sadness in their lives. CURE brings joy into the lives of people who have been shattered by sadness.
I know first hand cancer can be CURED, but until we can eradicate childhood cancer, places like CURE need all the volunteers they can get. I feel if I can spread the word about this wonderful organization maybe I can light one little candle. With enough people,we an start our own bonfire for CURE.