Thursday, May 30, 2013

A Big Idea From Lemons

I use Facebook a lot.
I like to read what's going on in my friends' lives.
I like seeing pictures of people's kids, pets, vacations.
I also like seeing what others are doing for the world of childhood cancer.
Fundraisers, magical gifts given to sick children, celebrity endorsers.
But it's the parents of children who have gone through the horrors of cancer who are the real go-getters.
Parents who have waited in the other room while their child receives radiation to their brain or spine.
Parents who watch their child become transformed by medications.
Medications that are simultaneously killing them and curing them.
Parents who lose sleep over the fact that this life their child is living is NOT the life they had envisioned for them.
I am one of those parents.

And it was on Facebook that I saw that another state in the U.S. had a license plate that it's citizens could purchase to raise money for childhood cancer research.
This license plate had raised MILLIONS of dollars for the cause.
I looked at the Illinois Secretary of State website.
There are license plates for breast cancer, ovarian cancer, autism, baseball teams, college teams, environmental plates and pet license plates.
But nothing to help raise funds for childhood cancer.
A group of diseases ranging from leukemia to brain tumors.
A group of diseases that kills more children than any other disease.
More than diabetes, pediatric AIDS, asthma, and cystic fibrosis combined.
The questions started rapidly popping up in my head...
Why don't we have a childhood cancer license plate in Illinois to raise funds for research?
Who can I ask about this?
Who do I know that would know what to do?
The answer appeared in my high school Junior Homecoming date and long time friend Mark.
The guy who brought my daughter a cooler full of snow to play with in her hospital room when she was fighting against cancer during a blizzard.

He's involved in politics in Springfield.
I asked him how I would go about doing this license plate thing.
He quickly replied with "I'm on it."

Since that day that I saw a Facebook post about another state's childhood cancer license plate my daughter and I have had the opportunity to meet Illinois State Senators, Illinois House Representatives, and the Governor himself.
We have been given a chance to give back to the science and doctors who have made it possible for our daughter to be in remission.
To give us hope for her future and for all children with cancer.
We wish we had never been put into this situation.
We wish our daughter hadn't been diagnosed with leukemia.

But she was.
And she's still here.
And we are trying to do great things with this sack of lemons she was given.
When life gives you lemons, you can make the most amazing lemonade around.

1 comment:

  1. I'm proud of you guys! Glad to call you my friends!