There are moments in your life that will forever be etched on your soul. They are so vivid you can remember where you were standing when you heard the news, the feel of the floor under your feet and the weight of the world crashing over your head.
My older sister, Jenn, called me in 2007 with devastating news. My niece, Kristen, hardly 3 years old, had been diagnosed with leukemia. She was at dance class on Tuesday and in a hospital bed on Friday receiving her first round of chemo.
The ache in your heart to see a child with a life-threatening illness is simply too much. But my sister woke up every morning, prayed for God’s mighty strength to replace her own, and became the rock Kristen needed to survive 27 months of chemo. Her father, her brother, her grandparents, my family and HUNDREDS of friends and family rallied around this little one and her road to recovery (although littered with pain and sadness) was always paved with love.
She was declared cancer free in 2010 but her story was too powerful to go unnoticed. Mostly because…..she was not alone.
Every year, over 13,000 sweet children are diagnosed with cancer. We can fundraise, raise awareness, send them well wishes but all too often we feel powerless against this thief known as cancer. I wanted to do something tangible to celebrate these tiny heroes.
So in July 2011, I organized the first Field of Dreams event. We invited any family in NC or SC experiencing childhood cancer to join us for one night in our amazing sunflower fields for a night of complimentary, professional family portraits.
There is JOY in this place. Children can’t help but run, skip and play among the giant, happy sunflowers in these fields. For just one night, we want to reclaim the JOY cancer has attempted to steal. We were able to produce beautiful family portraits at a time many families would shy away from the camera. But, we know this is a defining moment in their history, a chapter in their journey that deserves honor.
When her mother carried her to the field in 2011, she was a very sick little girl. She had just been diagnosed with leukemia and was very, very weak. Her mother and father found great strength in the fellow parents at the event who were further down the road to recovery. They needed all the support they could get.
(Photos courtesy of Chuck Eaton Photography)
Then, Caroline and her family joined us again at our 2012 Field of Dreams event. She was halfway through treatment and her hair had grown back curly and thick. That special spark of childhood was rising up to the surface amidst all the struggles they were going through.
(Photos courtesy of Susan Kelly Photography)
Then at our 2013 Field of Dreams event, we celebrated alongside her family the END of her treatment. She had done it! Our little warrior had won. There is truly no greater story than that of redemption. What cancer meant to steal away, the good Lord had replaced with life and love.
(Photos courtesy of Patrick Schneider Photography)
So, as we prepare for our 4th annual Field of Dreams event, won’t you consider joining us? Either with your financial donation, helpful hands or praying heart……we hope you will help us produce another successful event with these little heroes.
Our event is planned for July 7, 2014 from 6-9 p.m.
To register (you have a child 18 or under who is battling cancer or in remission), volunteer or donate, please click the CONTACT US button at the top right of your screen or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org