A LOVE STORY
I wholeheartedly believe in the immeasurable power of love – that true love can withstand any circumstance, overcome any obstacle, and reach across any distance. I believe this because I have witnessed it and experienced it.
In 2007, due to some very persistent and persuasive neighbors, I agreed to go on a blind date. Let’s just be honest – first dates in general can be incredibly awkward and uncomfortable. I went into this with no expectations or pretenses. I certainly never expected that I would meet my future husband on a blind date. Then again, life is funny that way – sometimes the best things come when you are least expecting them.
Pete was unlike any man I had ever met before. From those very first moments when he was determined to break the ice and make me laugh, I knew he was someone special. The more time went on, the more I realized just how truly amazing he is. He is a man who embraced my two boys as his own, a man who encouraged and accepted me just as I was, and a man who gave to all those around him, asking for nothing in return.
On June 13, 2009 I married the man of my dreams and two years later we welcomed beautiful twin girls. Life, for the most part, was perfect.
For a while anyway …
Three years ago, we tragically lost my youngest son. Losing a child leaves behind a void that will never be filled and comes with pain in ways you never knew existed. Just breathing hurts without them. After that, I really thought the worst was behind us. Then came a day I will never forget – a day that, like my wedding day and the birth of my children, is forever etched in my memory.
That day was the day Pete’s doctor told us that he had Acute Lymphatic Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). I felt numb immediately. Some days I still am. Suddenly and without warning, we were catapulted headfirst into the world of cancer. All that kept going through my head that day was “NO.” No, I would not let him give up. No, I would not let my children grow up without their father. No, this is not the end of us.
In the days that have passed since Pete’s diagnosis, I have felt frustration, anger, fear and sadness. But I have also experienced love on a level I never knew possible. This cancer has made both of us appreciate one another more than we ever have; to trust one another without hesitation or reservation. The little things that used to upset us no longer carried any weight. Making one another laugh, cherishing our children, surrounding ourselves with people who would stand with us and fight … these are the things that mattered.
Children’s Leukemia Foundation of Michigan (CLF) are some of the people who have surrounded our family during this time. They have provided Christmas presents for my daughters, emotional and financial support to my entire family, opportunities through CLF patient events where Pete could create long lasting memories, and so much more! However, I fully recognize that none of this would be possible without YOU.
You are the reason that 4,300 families have hope.
You are the reason they aren’t forced to choose to between paying their light bill or going to a doctor’s appointment for life-saving treatments. You are the reason over 500 children received Christmas presents this year, and hundreds more received personalized casework support.
This journey of Pete’s cancer diagnosis has taught me so many things – above all, the true meaning of love and the strength of the human spirit. I have witnessed his incredible courage and the immeasurable generosity of individuals like you.
I may never get to thank or meet you personally, but from the bottom of my heart I hope you know just how much my family and I appreciate you. Through your support of Children’s Leukemia Foundation of Michigan, you have been a source of strength and encouragement for all of us. Thank you for your unwavering and selfless generosity, ensuring that no patient family ever has to feel alone.