by my estimation that is what it took for me to begin my imprint-making last week. outrageous for a single scoop of ice cream and a chocolate sundae? maybe. the outcome, the imprint, is worth so very much more. (what’s an imprint….read here)
a few weeks ago i was re-introduced to a family i have known for years. just like the rest of us except for two things – sweet kiddoe cece had cancer 2 years ago and now her dad is in his own fight against the very same disease. right. totally unfair. crazy strong family.
a second grade cancer diagnosis of juvenile granulosa cell tumor- stage 1. clicking back through the family’s journey beginning in march 2013, i remember admiring their strength and dignity…the support and love they have is immense. it turns out that dear sweet cece, 2 years after surgery to remove her tumor, has a little bit on her mind. she is healthy, thriving, smart, funny….. but she needs something else.
it’s a lot to carry on a little ones shoulders (and add in the anxiety and worry about her dad…geesh). i know from our family experience that, no matter how great the outlook and how normal life can be, all four of us are silently praying all the time. that is more than childhood is meant to be. i do believe, with 100% of my heart and soul, that these journeys, although tragic and hard and unfair, can be opportunities for all of us to become better. i never intended to create a nonprofit. it was not the path i was on. but when that cancer diagnosis hit, and i looked at my two babies, more than anything i knew i needed them to know that we can guarantee more good will come of this than any bad. cancer will never ever win because we are better and stronger in our souls. my mission in life shifted to ensure that my rockstars, my new friend cece, and all of the children who face any type of extended illness, have a chance to live (a child’s life) and love (themselves) and win (by becoming the best they can be).
cece is in remission – clear scans (whoop whoop). i met her at school for our ice cream date and immediately hugged her tight as if we were old buddies. we both knew this was true on some level i think. cece goes to the best school i can ever imagine, and it just happens to be the school my children attend and the one where i spent 12 years as a faculty member. maybe i am biased. let me tell you that at the heart of this school is the common mission that everything is done with the purpose of what is best for each and every individual child. every child is known. THAT is what i call an outstanding education. THAT is what every child in this country deserves. THAT is what we should be demanding from every school. THAT is what i am hell bent and determined to make happen through Rohr Rockstars. (y’all if you knew what i know about how our schools “deal with” children facing extended illness, you would be getting fired up as well!!!)
so cece has a lot going on in that beautiful head of hers and she wants to be heard on a few items. she is not different. that is number one. she is not different. maybe that she loves chocolate would be number two :). oh and that she will be a famous actress some day. after those two very important items she wants to share that cancer has not changed her. she is cece. that’s it. not cece who had cancer. not cece who went to ny for treatment. not cece who was diagnosed in second grade. she is, quite simply, cece. bright. (she HATES that people think that somehow cancer made her not smart anymore….ugh. heartbreak.) loving. creative. energetic. a book lover (fantasy is her preferred genre). she is…cece.
i didn’t have to do anything other than eat ice cream, listen, understand, laugh …. that was enough. a special person just for her, just cece. the beginning of an imprint – on both of us. we parted ways with another hug, a plan to stay in touch, and a big braces filled toothy grin with a few chocolate sprinkles as a reminder of our time together.