Today was the Tampa St. Jude walk/run and my heart is so full from all the love and support we received today. Today was important in 2 big ways.
First, take it from me, you never know when someone in your life that you love will get the news that they have cancer. You never think it’s going to happen to you, but then it does, and that person you love happens to be your child. So everyone rallying around us and showing their support, and giving to St. Jude means so much. St. Jude’s research and advancements in the treatment of childhood cancer has directly impacted Caleb and our lives. I don’t know where we would be without them. It’s been a tough year but it would have been a lot tougher without the wonderful people and doctors of St. Jude. It’s a place I wish everyone could visit and experience for themselves. It’s the club you never want to be a part of, but then somehow when you are, you are proud to be a part of it because it’s such a special place. Ok, I could go on and on about how grateful we are for St. Jude, but I am so amazed and touched by how many people are willing to give of their time and money to show their support for both St. Jude and Caleb. We are forever grateful and even if we didn’t have a long time to chat today we noticed every single person who showed up and was there for us, and also our friends near and far who supported us with donations online and by uploading pics in your green today. There are no words for how blessed we are to have an amazing circle of people in our lives.
Second, this day was important because 1 year ago I ran this same race, but in Memphis, at St. Jude. We had only been at St. Jude a few days when I saw signs for a 5k. Perfect! I love races so I signed up without hesitation. Little did I know how much that day would change me. It was the first day I heard the “No More Chemo” song, and stood in the rain in tears as a little girl who had just finished her chemo sang it. It was a day I met another AT/RT mom whose daughter did not survive. She still worked and volunteered at St. Jude, because no matter the outcome, it was a special place to her. And as for Caleb, he hadn’t even started treatment yet. We had so far to go and I didn’t even know if he would be standing here one year later.
But here we are, 1 year later, back in our home town and walking this event for St. Jude. Over the past year we have decided we will not let cancer define the way we live our lives or the way we treat Caleb, and I think he proved that today. Caleb is not only here to see this day, but he also decided he wanted to take off running at the end of the race. He was so happy and free spirited today. So was Tyler. I think they could feel the positive energy all around us and they were feeding off of it. And last year, I ran that race alone. But this year, 80+ friends and family showed up to support us and say “you are not alone in this battle.” We felt so loved today and I will remember this day for a long time!
I put together (with the help of all your pictures) a little video of today. I hope you all enjoy, and that you feel the sprit of coming together to be one against childhood cancer.