Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Home Stretch

Greetings. Last time I wrote I was smack in the middle of my time on crutches while I waited for my broken ankle to heal. It's been almost 10 weeks, and I am happy to say that I am almost back to my old self. The MRI of my leg came back normal and the suspicious spot I mentioned before is indeed nothing to be worried about. The white "growth" is a non-ossifying fibroma. Thank God for the small blessings! After this ordeal, I have a new found compassion for people on crutches. They never really looked that bad until I had to survive on them for 8 weeks! I am happy to say that things healed as they should and I am glad to be back as a more "active" part of Smiles For Sophie Forever!

Life continues on here and we are just about a month away from our biggest fundraiser - the 3rd Annual Birthday Bash and Dash. Wow! 3rd Annual. It's almost hard to believe. Not because we already have 2 races under our belt, but because it means we are getting closer to the 3rd anniversary of Sophie's death. I often wonder how this can be. How is it that my little girl should be turning 7 and finishing 1st grade, yet she never even finished one year of preschool? Every day I really miss her so much. I have a feeling that it might seem to some that I should "get used to" the pain of losing a child. It's a rare occasion that Sophie's name is mentioned anymore, and I get the feeling that I'm expected to move on. But grief just doesn't work that way. I'm sure you tire of me saying the same things all the time, and know I've said it before, but you could never truly understand how I feel unless you have lived through the nightmare of losing a child. What's worse is it saddens me to know that there are people out there who have lived the nightmare and do know what I feel every day.

Sarah is approaching her 4th birthday, and she still talks about Sophie, and death and heaven a lot. When I look at her, she seems so big, yet so little at the same time. I just shake my head when I think that Sophie didn't have the 4th birthday of a normal child. When she turned four, she was in the middle of the fight of her life, and just about to take a turn for the worse. Sarah's innocence reminds me what Sophie should have been doing in the summer of 2007. She should have just finished preschool. She should have been looking forward to days at the pool. Of course I know she is having the time of her life in heaven and that everyday is a day at the pool, but somedays, knowing that just isn't enough. Some days I feel so angry that Sarah never really got to know Sophie. I'm angry that she doesn't have the life long friend and sister that she was supposed to have. It bothers me even more because Sarah seems to gravitate to "older" girls when in a group. I'm sure Sophie and Sarah would have had their moments, but I truly believe they would have been awesome playmates. I hesitate to write about how the grief and sadness has a way of lingering in our lives because it seems like another reminder. Of course I would never want to forget Sophie, and I never could, but some days I still wish that I would wake up. It seems crazy to say that, but I still ask myself how and why everyday. And sometimes I can't believe it happened to us. Honestly, when I think those thoughts, I am even more determined to do something for those families who are suffering like us. I know what they are feeling. Despair in every sense of the word; many trying to hang on to hope for a miracle when every doctor out there tells you there is no cure.

So what do we do with our grief? We put it to work. The Foundation is work and a work that sometimes I wish I didn't have to be a part of. Not that I don't want to be helping other pediatric brain cancer patients, and searching for a cure; I just wish I didn't have to lose my daughter to become an advocate. Some days it's so obvious that life would be so much easier if I weren't "in charge", and if I could just volunteer here and there when I felt like it or when my scheduled allowed. It sounds selfish to me to write that, but I think that is the life of a "normal" person. A life that I will never have. I have a quote in my basement that says, "What we do in life echoes in eternity." Why I was chosen to be one whose lifelong commitement will be to spread the word and the awareness, I will never know. But it is not my job to know. Never in a million years would I have thought that this would be my life. The day before Sophie's diagnosis, I was just living life. And then I was blindsided by cancer. Just as most people are. There is so warning, no rhyme or reason. It could be any of us, and that is the scary thing.

I am so thankful for the people that God has placed in my life to help with the Foundation, and every day I remind myself that He put these passionate people in my life for a reason. How is it that some people can give so much to a cause founded for a little girl they barely knew, or never even met. Of course I can't discount the support of our family and those who knew and loved Sophie because they too have been amazing. We have come so far with the work of the Foundation and we are not stopping here.

We are in the home stretch with race planning, and could use your help in a few areas. First of all, we want you to be a part of our race. Registering early helps us tremendously. And of course we could use your financial support. You can donate to the cause though the main page, at or you can donate to Sarah's page at . She is going to be running the 1 mile this year, or so that is the plan. One day she says she wants to, and the next she says she is afraid she won't win. So if you feel called to donate, we would appreciate your help. And, if you want to do even more than donate to our cause, the best way you can help is to create a fundraising page of your own. It is not difficult to do, and my sister Sarah has offered to assist anyone who needs help. We know that each of you has a whole bunch of friends and relatives who would consider supporting your efforts. The best thing you can do is to share our story with your friends and family. Not only will you be raising much needed funds, but you will also be raising awareness, and you can't put a dollar amount on that!

In addition we are looking for items to use at our silent auction and/or Chinese raffle. If you have any contacts that would be able to donate services, concert or sporting even tickets, travel vouchers, sports memorabilia, gift cards or anything of the sort, please contact We have a deadline of June 15 to be included on our printed materials, so the sooner the better would be awesome. If you want more information about sponsorship levels, please visit the upcoming events portion (bash and dash) of our website and click on sponsorship forms.

Lastly, as another way to help with race preparations, we are still in need of bottled water. If you'd like to donate a case or two, I am collecting them now and you can drop off any water you'd like to donate to my house. The water will of course be used for post-race refreshments for all our runners and walkers.

As if planning the race weren't enough, we have a few other things going on. Tonight we will be participating in "The Best of Lorain County." We have been selected as a finalist in the Best Charitable Race category by readers of pulse, Lorain County's Magazine. If you live in the area and don't have plans tonight, consider coming out to the voting and expo which will be held at the Spitzer Conference Center in Elyria, Thursday June 3, 6-9pm. We are honored to be chosen and are proud that the community recognizes our race as one of the "best." We were a finalist in "The Best of the West" in April, and for the second year in a row, we won! Thank you to those of you who voted for us.

In our last newsletter we mentioned the Dash and Dine contest by Uglu and how they are giving us a $1000 donation as part of a design contest they are doing. You can help by going to their website and voting for the designer of your choice. While you are there, you can also enter for a chance to win $1000 for yourself. Here is the website. You can vote daily. Please take a minute to vote for your favorite!

Also, there is a frozen yogurt place in Westlake called "Spoon Me." It opened May 15, and as part of their program to give back to charities, this location has offered to donate all of the their tips through out the month of June to Smiles For Sophie Forever. We thank the team at Spoon Me for thinking of us, and we encourage you to visit them for a taste of their fare, and while you are there, don't forget to leave a tip! If you become a fan of Spoon Me on Facebook, you can print a coupon for a buy one get one free. Bon appetit!

On Monday June 28, we will have our 4th Annual Smiles For Sophie Forever Golf outing in Grand Blanc, MI. If you would like to attend, please contact Bob or Brett Quayle or simply download the registration form which can be found under the events tab on our website. We are looking for raffle and silent auction items for this event too. If you have any Michigan connections you would like to share, we welcome them with open arms. Just call Bob or Brett at 810-238-5000 or email

Once again, I thank you for caring enough to take the time to read this and even more to those of you who take action after reading it. You'll never know how much your support means to me.

God Bless!

1 comment:

Jodi H said...

I have followed your story the entire time and pray for you and your family daily. As you know, I ran for Sophie at the Pittsburgh 1/2 Marathon in May. I was able to raise $150.00 for St. Jude's. I will be at the race on July 4th. I am hoping I get the chance to meet you in person.