I was excited when we arrived at St. Jude because there were signs everywhere for a walk/run and there was a 5k race. I signed myself up because I haven’t had much time to run or work out since I got here so I thought it would be good to make some time for that if nothing else.
But this morning was so much more than that. It was a very emotional run. Before the start of the race they had a little girl come up on stage and sing the “end of chemo” song. So apparently when you finish your treatments here you get to have a party and they sing this song. It was so emotional because I stood there wondering if we will get to Caleb’s end of treatment song, and how he will be, and all that we will have gone through. It seems so far away right now. It was a very sweet way to start the race. The person on stage also talked about the wrist bands you see around St Jude. If someone is wearing a purple arm band, they have lost a child. If a family is wearing a gold arm band they are currently battling cancer.
So the race began and was very fun! I loved running through downtown Memphis. It’s pretty hilly though! I’m definitely not used to that. My runs in Florida are usually pretty flat.
James, Linda, and the kids were waiting for me at the finish line. I couldn’t wait to hug them!!! The kids always like looking at my medal too! They had a whole festival set up with many tents and activities for the kids. In the tent for patient families they had cookie decorating with icing and sprinkles. The kids just LOVED that of course. They ate more of the sprinkles and frosting than the cookie!!!
But while we were in that tent I met two very important people. One lady who is the head of fundraising for families but also who is there for parent support. She lost her daughter 3 years ago to a type of bone cancer and she now works at St. Jude. The other lady I met forever changed my life. I have a feeling we will meet again many times on this journey. She lost her daughter to AT/RT. We talked about her daughter’s battle and how St. Jude helped extend her daughters life by 5 years! Unfortunately for them, they were not able to be a part of St. Jude’s current protocol for chemo treatments because at that time a specific chemo drug was still in clinical trials. Fortunately for us, Caleb will be receiving that drug that she believed would have saved her daughter, or at least helped her to live longer. It’s so emotional to meet a family who has lost their fight. You wonder if you will be them some day, helping other families cope. But you don’t want to be them because you want to be one of the lucky ones that defies the odds! I admire these people so much who are able to keep helping others and keep sharing their story, even after experiencing such a painful loss. We hugged and cried and I know I will see her again.
We stayed at the event for awhile and the kids had so much fun. I’m grateful that every event or activity St. Jude puts on is so focused on the kids having a good time. We are off to find lunch now and explore more of Memphis!