I’d like you to imagine this situation. Cast yourself as the person in this story and picture this… You have 3 little children and life is good. You’re living the dream. You don’t have any real worries and most of your anxiety comes from the never-ending piles of laundry and toys littering the living room floor. One day, you notice your normal and healthy little girl keeps tilting her head to one side. It’s obvious enough that it causes you to worry, so you bring her to the pediatrician. He tries not to alarm you but when he sends you on for further testing your heart quickens. A few unsettling days pass before you meet with a specialist who takes x-rays yet can’t give you any explanations. Your daughter is going to need an MRI. At this point your initial concern has turned into full-fledged fear. More nerve-wracking days go by before the time comes to have the MRI. You leave your house well before the sun rises and drive downtown. You slip a little yellow hospital gown on your baby girl and try to hold it together as they wheel her down the corridor. Then you wait. And wait. And wait until a nurse comes and you’re finally led to a small room where the curtain is drawn around you. That’s when they deliver the blow…your daughter has a brain tumor. The weight of those words is crushing, and you can hardly breathe. An immediate whirlwind of admission paperwork, consents, doctors, images, swirl around and you struggle to keep up.
Thank God, your loving spouse is by your side to help you navigate this nightmare. Time has stopped, yet somehow accelerated at the same time. You have other children who need to be picked up from school. Thank God for grandparents you can call upon for help. Finally, you get to see your daughter who has yet to waken from the procedure. You are not prepared for what you see. She is intubated and covered from head to toe in wires and monitors. Clearly, you won’t be leaving this place anytime soon. You weren’t prepared to spend the night and your other kids need you so you make the decision to send your spouse home while you stay the night in the pediatric intensive care unit. Thank God for friends who come running and bring you a change of clothes and a toothbrush and spend a sleepless night with you so you don’t have to be alone. That long day, turns into weeks, turns into months. Your daughter isn’t healthy enough to return home, so you alternate home and hospital with your spouse, ships passing in the night. Thank God the travel to and from the hospital is less than an hour. You’re not like the other families you meet who have come from across the country and don’t get to alternate between home and hospital like you do. Families who don’t see each other for months at a time. Thank God for friends who come visit. The hospital can be a very lonely place. Your daughter is approaching her 3rd month in intensive care and the bills are piling up quickly. Thank God you have good insurance and a flexible job that allows you to keep earning your paycheck. That never-ending pile of laundry and all the other everyday tasks that were hard before are virtually impossible now. Thank God you have neighbors who let your dog out and cut your grass when you don’t even need to ask. Thank God for meals delivered. There’s no time to go to the grocery store much less cook a decent meal. It helps and you feel better knowing that your family doesn’t have to eat fast food 3 meals a day. Thank God for your church community. These diligent prayer warriors who lift you up so faithfully that you literally feel their power.
In case you haven’t figured it out, that’s our story and that’s the beginning of Addi’s Faith Foundation. Throughout that story, you heard “Thank God” repeated many times. Even in our darkest hour there was still so much to be thankful for. So many opportunities to thank God for good even in the bad. Most of those blessings came to us from friends, family, and our community. These people were acting as the hands and feet of Christ and what they taught me is the true meaning of love thy neighbor.
This, my friends, is how Addi’s Faith Foundation was born. We saw then, and still see all the time today, so many families who are struggling beyond what is bearable. Having a child with cancer is devastating but it’s even harder when you’re a single parent, or you were barely making ends meet before the diagnosis, or you don’t live in a community who rallies around you, or you have to travel great distances to get the proper treatment, or you don’t have the knowledge that people are lifting you up in prayer and loving you along the way.
Those are the issues that Addi’s faith Foundation is trying to address. Sure, we offer great support by paying off an overdue electric bill or providing a month’s mortgage payment. But it’s so much more than that! Along with that financial support comes love and prayers and it’s making their journey a little less lonely. A little more bearable. Addi’s Faith Foundation gets to be the hands and feet of Christ and I know, both from experience and because so many tell me that it makes all the difference in the world.
So, thank you for taking an active role in spreading this love. Your gifts of time and money allows us to have an impact on so many and we simply couldn’t do it without you.
Addi’s Faith Foundation