Mary Evelyn is eight and just starting second grade. She loves shopping, playing with her daddy, crafts, and imaginative play just like other girls her age. Last winter, when we told her that her cancer was back after four years of remission, she hoped we were joking. Then she was very quiet and thoughtful. She made a snack, prayed, and thought some more. Then she told me that she had been speaking to her cancer. She told me “I told that cancer- I beat you once and I can beat you again in the blink of your evil eye!” It was the first moment I felt hope.
|Mary Evelyn being prayed for before the Kursk Root Icon|
Recently, Mary Evelyn told me that for a while she thought she might die, but now she believes she’ll live. I wonder if she swings between hope and fear like her parents do? When I have my hopeful times, I’m happy and things are almost normal, but it can all change in an instant. For instance, I make plans to redecorate her bedroom, but then suddenly I feel fear: will she be here to enjoy it? As soon as I let myself think that, I can tumble into an aching sorrow but it’s for something that hasn’t happened yet and may never happen. Sooner or later, I come to my senses and I’m hopeful again. It is a constant struggle for me and I hope being a child protects her from most of that.
There is no known cure for relapsed neuroblastoma, but we have hope that one will be discovered in time for Mary Evelyn. She is currently on a clinical trial and had a Big MIBG- radioactive isotope therapy followed by a stem cell rescue and we pray that this has helped reduce the cancer. It is hard to explain to her that there is no set plan and no end in sight. Thankfully, she simply enjoys her good days as fully as possible and endures her bad days while always trusting that we are taking care of her. Watching her has taught me to be thankful for God’s grace and care for us each day and helps me deal with my struggle with hope and fear.
Mary Evelyn, as a child facing cancer without a known cure, is still a happy child and is full of life. People love to be near her because she gives them hope. We’ve seen an outpouring of love and help since she was diagnosed and even on hard days there is joy and laughter. We feel surrounded by people who deeply care about Mary Evelyn and who are standing with us in our time of need. People pray for us, help us in many ways, and the hospital staff has become like family to her. I’m thankful for all of that, but I also like to think that somewhere, there are researchers working as hard as they can to find a cure for neuroblastoma and give children like Mary Evelyn a more tangible hope for their future.
|Sunday of the Precious Cross: Unction service for Mary Evelyn by seven Atlanta priests.|
About September & CURE’S Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time:
September is recognized as National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. This September, CURE Childhood Cancer has committed to raising awareness and raising money to help find a cure for childhood cancer in our lifetime and put an end to this terrible disease through a special program CURE’s Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time!
Please help us in our goal of raising $60,000 in the month of September while honoring special CURE kids each day of the month who have been affected by childhood cancer.
For more information, please click here.
About CURE Childhood Cancer:
Founded in 1975, CURE Childhood Cancer is dedicated to conquering childhood cancer through research, education and support of patients and their families. Since its establishment as a grass-roots organization, CURE has focused its efforts on improving the care, quality of life, and survival rate of children with cancer.
The founders, parents and a dedicated pediatric oncologist, joined forces to support laboratory research that would translate into immediate care for children with cancer.
Since that time, CURE has raised millions of dollars to fund cutting edge research at the Aflac Cancer Center Blood Disorders Service at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Emory University School of Medicine.
Through innovative programming, CURE also provides support for stricken families, providing them comfort and support during their time of devastating need.
Visit us online at http://www.curechildhoodcancer.org for more information.