I get a fair amount of email from people who visit my website or read my blog. Sometimes it’s interesting. Sometimes it’s incredibly sad. Sometimes it’s wonderful and uplifting. Not too long ago, I got a note from Jane, a fellow writer in Pennsylvania, that was all of those things.
Jane shared the story of the O’briens, a family from her town whose young daughter Catie was fighting, and beginning to lose, a battle with pediatric cancer. The O’briens had started a blog to keep friends up to date on Catie’s struggle and to raise money for an amazing goal their daughter had set. She wanted to raise enough money to cover the operating expenses for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital every year on April 23, her birthday. At eight years old, she understood what a legacy was, and she wanted to leave one behind.
Jane asked some questions about publishing, wondering if getting the O’briens’ story out into the world might help to raise awareness, and I answered them as best I could. When I checked back at the website to see how things were going, I found that Catie had passed away just days after Jane’s email. Now, her parents’ blog updates have changed from status updates on their daughter to reflections on grief and requests for help to honor her memory.
I’m in awe of this family’s strength. Here’s a newspaper article about their progress so far. If you’d like to be part of their fund raising effort, you can click here for more information.