Sunday, May 19, 2013

LFR 2013: An opportunity to give back

Dear Friends and Family,

Many of you followed us on our journey of childhood cancer. As you are well aware, from Chloe’s admission to Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital up to this very day, we have been surrounded by many blessings. While the journey was difficult at times, we look back and see how the experience opened our eyes to a new reality. We see aspects of life differently than we did before cancer. We find ourselves giving thanks for the ways it strengthened our faith, our outlook, our very selves.

One of the experiences for which we give thanks is Lighthouse Family Retreat (LFR). LFR is an organization whose mission is to serve children with cancer and their families at a seaside family retreat, to help them to laugh, restore family relationships and find hope in God. At the one year anniversary of Chloe’s surgery, we surprised our kids with a trip to a Lighthouse Family Retreat in Florida. When we arrived, we were introduced to our volunteer family, the Snells, who made sure that we had everything we could possibly want or need (including doing our laundry!). The Snell family, along with many other LFR volunteers, helped us to kick back and play for a week. We were served meals, invited to the beach, treated to a flash mob, dance parties, an Italian dinner, a date night and a low country boil. As parents, we were able to connect with other parents who could relate to our journey. The kids were able to play - sports, games, swimming. Our only responsibility that week was to have fun. That we did!

Our week at Lighthouse was an amazing experience, one we would like to repeat. Only this time we would like to give back. We would like to be the volunteer family. We would like to give a family the opportunity to laugh, love and live carefree for a week this summer! We have signed up to volunteer July 14-20. In order to do this, we need to raise $2,250.00.

We tend to be problem solvers. It is hard to accept help. Chloe’s cancer taught us that we cannot and should not do this alone. We would like to ask for your support as we serve. We have already begun praying for the family with whom we will be paired. We ask that you join us in praying for that family. We also ask that you would pray for us, that we would have giving hearts and the attitude of servants. We pray that our experience might help another family through their difficult time. In addition, if possible, we would appreciate it if you would be willing to support us financially as we serve.

If you are led to support us financially, any amount that you contribute is greatly appreciated. As volunteers, we are asked to raise $750 per adult and $250 per child to serve on a retreat. There is no cost to the families that we serve, and it costs Lighthouse $3500 per retreat family to cover the expenses involved to provide them a place of fun and rejuvenation. Specifically the funding provides housing, meals and retreat activities such as a luau, pool games, arts and crafts, night out for the parents, devotionals, a talent show and more.

You can make your tax deductible donation by visiting our donation page, by clicking the link at the top of our family blog, or by sending a check to the Lighthouse office at 45 Technology Parkway S, Suite 225 Norcross, GA 30092. Please indicate that the check is towards our volunteer support. We need to raise our support by July 1, 2013.

Thanks for your continued support, prayers, and encouragement as we walk this journey,

Thursday, May 09, 2013

All is well

Ultrasound and chest X-rays were both clear and we were home in time for the Kinderparade. It's Tulip Time here in Holland, after all. 

Here's a snapshot from yesterday's Volksparade.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Scans tomorrow

Our hearts are with the Emerson family in the passing of their beloved Oliver yesterday. Oliver was diagnosed about a year before Chloe, but ended up with a more difficult road than the one we traveled. Knowing Derek and Mary Ann from both Crossroad Chapel and Mary Ann and Oliver's participation in the East K-7 Garden Club, they were welcoming, familiar faces who happened to be at the Helen DeVos Children's Hospital when Chloe underwent her first surgery and joined us for a meal. Derek's words in Oliver's CarePage updates continually inspired us to look at the bigger picture of faith in the midst of suffering. Should our family's journey with childhood cancer ever take a turn for the worse, I hope and pray we will walk it with as much faith, love, hope, and grace as the Emerson family.

On a much more minor note, Chloe's heading for her quarterly scans tomorrow. Your prayers are always appreciated.