Sunday, September 19, 2004
"People always tell me how brave I am, but I don’t have a choice. I have to get needles in my arm and take my chemo so that I can get better. I think the brave people are the people who don’t have to get pokes, but who do so other people can get blood transfusions and live. Thank you to the Red Cross who make blood transfusions possible for people like me."
Written and spoken by Christi S. Thomas, 7 years old
Greetings to the Christi Crew!!
The speech that which to be read about the girls receiving the Clara Barton award by Donna at the upcoming Red Cross event was mailed to us a few days prior so that we could ensure it was proper for "little ears" to hear. The cleverly written speech "Beauty and the Beast" was so moving, it made me cry. Then at the bottom was the written note asking for Shayne or I to say a few words after the speech would be given. I attempted to "pass the buck" to Shayne; however, when I watched him read the speech with tears pouring down his face too I knew we were in deep, deep trouble! Well, spectacular Shayne had yet another great idea - let's ask brave Christi to do it! (smile)
I gathered her up on my lap and reminded her about the great honor she and Shayla would be receiving in 48 hours and that a lot of people are very proud of her helping out the Red Cross. I explained that they want her to be a Red Cross Volunteer until she's 80 years old, and did she think she could go to the microphone and say a little thank you after the awards were presented. Certainly, she did! (Whew!) Therefore, she asked me to type out her words and the above "acceptance speech" is what she came up with. Her bias Mother thought it was brilliant!!
The Red Cross event was lovely. Donna didn't know how she was going to get through the "Beauty and the Beast" speech; she told me every time she practiced it she cried. I don't know how she did it either, but she did it incredibly well!!! Happy were we to have Grandma Nee Nee, Grandma Nonee and Paw Paw Joe also in attendance with us. I know these types of things can be very difficult emotionally for my Mother especially. I sometimes forget that Christi is their child too and think that Shayne and I are the only ones who have a child with cancer fighting an uphill battle with all odds stacked against her. We may the only ones in our family who know the most about this horrible beast, but we're not the only ones who consider this child of God to be "ours" for this short time on earth. The folks at the Red Cross were just wonderful. And I know without the work of the Red Cross, little Christi would not be here at all. Again this week I read about the shortages of blood products here in the state of Ohio. What a shame to have to drive to another state to get the blood needed for our own folks. I wonder what will happen when other states will no longer share their precious blood with us. Give the gift inside, give blood!
We all had another great week for which we are so grateful and continue to soak up and drink in! (Someone recently emailed me and said, "You guys don't waste a single second of your lives!" and while it made me laugh, I have to agree we DO KNOW how precious life is, but we've always lived like this - with a lot of activity in our lives.) Christi's blood counts at the hospital on Wednesday were again excellent! This new lowered dosage appears to be helping with that - whether it's helping with the cancer or not is yet to be determined, but until test/scan time we shall just be hopeful and prayerful. (3.8 white, 10.6 hgb., 110 platelets with an ANC of 2,400 - all below normal for you or I, but pretty good for a "kid on chemo") Thank you, Lord!
This is of course the "telling time" when her counts should be starting to really fall. In the past rounds she's had to be off of treatment for about 21 (scary) days. Hopefully, her counts will not crash and she'll be able to get right back on her chemo, after only having the seven days off for her body to rest, come Thursday morning. As a result, this Wednesday's trip to the hospital will be very nerve-wracking and very telling. I pray that she has high enough blood counts to support starting the chemo, on schedule, on Thursday.
When I stopped by Nick and Shana's house this week to see if I could borrow their darling Country Time lemonade stand (AGAIN), I was greeted with, "We've been going to call you. It's hers; tell Christi to keep it." If the Fabrizio's weren't so sweet, I'd think that they just did that so I wouldn't keep backing my van up in front of their garage once a month! (smile) Nick most likely paid way too much for this perfect lemonade stand at a community charity event a while back where he found it; however, it's certainly had a lot of use raising money for a great cause and we've very appreciative. Thanks, Nick and Shana!
The Duck Race event for Hospice was on Saturday at our town's Heritage Festival and was very well done. While the ducks s-l-o-w-l-y proceeded down the Sandusky River a small crowed had gathered. A few announcements were made about Christi's lemonade stand being available and many sweet folks (with the cutest little kids) dropped by to buy lemonade ' donating to Alex's Lemonade Fund. Saturday night, Christi counted $37.35 for Alex's Lemonade Fund. Thank you donators and especially to Hospice - a wonderful United Way agency, serving the terminally ill and their families since 1983. I don't know how they do what they do, but I'm very grateful they do what they do! Thank you, Hospice!
Tuesday will be the big event on campus. Christi will be reading "Alex and the Amazing Lemonade Stand" to the Education class in the Ed. Building before heading outside to sell lemonade to anyone who may drop by. The students (young and old) as well as my great friends on staff at Heidelberg College have really turned this into what I believe will be a spectacular event! Publicity has been huge!! When I stopped by the teachers' store here in town last week to buy a few things for school, I was greeted by a great poster on the front door advertising the event. So sweet! I think the event has nothing but "love and success" written all over it! I know Alex would be proud!! And while she would be too sweet and too shy to jump out and grab a microphone and blow a kiss to say thanks to all who donate to her fund, I have no doubt Christi would happily do that for her friend, Alex - forever eight - forever great!!
Just a reminder that September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month. I wish I weren't so "aware" yet I feel bad that I was so clueless before. I still remember hearing that Christi had a tumor from the doctor back in Sept. of 2002 and not even knowing if that meant "cancer" or what. As soon as I could get Christi occupied, I ran into the hospital bathroom - away from Christi, and called my best friend (who thankfully happens to be a RN) and from the tone of Becky's voice - now two years later realizing she was just trying to keep me calm, I discovered this wasn[t good news as she paused and then said, "O.K." before beginning to answer my questions. And of course the phone call to tell my Mom about the "tumor" the doctor just told me about and her saying she'd start the prayer chain really made my heart fall as I knew that is never done unless it is really serious. Just how serious it was, I didn't know for a while. May one day soon a cure be found for all inflicted with cancer. Thanks for your continued love, help and support!!
Love, the Thomas Team Mom - Angela
Christi's Joke: What does the Mother kitten say to the baby kitten? I'm very purrrrrroud of you!
Shayla's Joke: This came about after I reminded her that her first Sunday school started back the next day. "Sunday school? What's that? Where you learn how to make sundaes?" Hee he heee!
Shayla's Funny: While getting dressed we heard, "I want to wear Chicklets." A quick quizzical glance to Shayne was made as I probed for more information. "What? Tell me more, honey. I don't understand." "You know, the socks that show my ankles," she replied. "Oh, you mean anklets. You want to wear anklet socks so that you can see your ankles," I said. "Oops, I get mixed up sometimes." We love you, sweet Shayla! You are so cute!
What's Next? Lemonade Stand for Alex's Lemonade Fund at Heidelberg College Tuesday from 11-1. Blood tests on Wednesday at the hospital and hopefully ABT - 751 oral chemo will start again (round #5) on Thursday. Tests and scans to follow (most likely mid-October) but this will depend on how soon she starts back on the chemotherapy.
"WHAT MAKES ME A GOOD PERSON"
by Christi Thomas, age 7
What I think makes me a nice person is when I clean my room and my house and it makes me feel helpful because my mom needs a lot of help when my dad goes to meetings. Another thing that makes me feel like a good person is when I help out with watering the garden. This time I planted, watered and picked strawberries. My mom and some friends say that they are better than the store's. What's your secret? My dad says that we will have lots of strawberry jam this winter. I told him that we don't know how to make it. When I help with that, it makes me feel good inside. I don't know why. I just do and that is what I think makes me a good person.
CLARA BARTON (1821-1912)
First President of the American Red Cross
Clara Barton was the founder and first President of the American Red Cross, which was established on May 21, 1881, in Washington, D.C. She served as a frontline volunteer during the American Civil War and saw first-hand the value of the Red Cross during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. These experiences made her determined to establish a society in the United States. Under her able leadership, the American Red Cross became the premier disaster relief organization in the world. This unique contribution was recognized by the International Red Cross Conference in 1884. When she resigned her position in 1904, she challenged the American people to pick up where she had left off "To you -- the people of America -- this sacred trust is committed," she wrote, "in your hands the charge is laid."
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