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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

A Sky Full of Stars: The APHON/Kyle's Kamp Scholarship Fund

I've met some pretty impressive people during the three years I have volunteered in the pediatric cancer community. If I reflect back on each child and family I have met, I am keenly aware that, in many ways, before I embarked on this journey, my world was small and safe and closed. It was generally happy and peaceful and comfortable. Today it continues to be all of those things for the most part, except that my heart is more open and certainly more susceptible to understanding the horror that is the suffering and even death of children just like my own. Remarkably, dipping my toes into a space with some of the scariest and brutal of circumstances, has not darkened my world. To the contrary, there are, in the midst of suffering and even crushing grief, countless sources of light. This light filters through in various forms: courage, persistence, compassion, friendship, loyalty and above all, hope. Each child I meet, each family, each nurse, each doctor, and each volunteer seems to shine brighter than the next.

Their names and faces are many. Sometimes I forget that the blessings far outweigh the burden of this work. Sometimes I wonder if I can handle meeting one more because the reality of childhood cancer is that now I am only able to see some of these faces in photos. Some of them will remain forever thirteen years old, twelve years old, or four years old.

I know that another introduction to another child might bring more worry, more pain, and more potential for loss and grief. I fret that this time it will be more than my heart can bear.  Of course, most would understand that walking through the loss of another child might end my capacity to stay here. It would be sensible to back off, I suppose. And I have pondered all of that.


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