This Memorial Day I’m running as part of a relay team in the Vermont City Marathon to raise money for the Vermont Children’s Hospital. My team includes my daughter, my niece and my sister-in-law and is called “ALLmost There”. There’s a reason our team name is spelled the way it is, and the story starts on Memorial Day weekend 2007. I came home for work that Friday like many others and was busy mowing the lawn. My wife, Kathy, was inside with the kids when the phone rang. My son, Evan, who had just turned three, had been experiencing some pain in his legs and we were expecting to hear the results of the blood test he had that afternoon. Evan had been treated for a couple of weeks for a joint inflammation, but it didn’t seem to be improving. Well, our pediatrician told Kathy that he wanted me on the phone as well before he would explain the results. She called for me to come in from out in the yard and we heard words no parent wants to hear…our little boy had cancer. More specially, we would learn it was called “acute lymphocytic leukemia” or ALL. Our lives immediately changed. We were told to report to the hospital the next morning to begin treatment. That was the start of nearly 50 days overnight in the hospital for the remainder of the year, and three years of additional treatment that included monthly trips to the doctor, numerous trips to the emergency room and a daily grind of chemotherapy, steroids and other drugs. Evan handled most it wonderfully, survived, and today he is a happy third grader at Hinesburg Community School. Not a day goes by, however, where I don’t give my son an extra hug and kiss at bedtime or at the start of school, say a quick prayer and give thanks for the oncologists and nurses at the Vermont Children’s Hospital that have kept my little buddy healthy.
This will be the fourth year that I’ve participated on a relay team that supports the Vermont Children’s Hospital as part of a larger group of teams called “Team Never Give Up”. In previous years I ran with other parents of children with a life-threatening conditions that our family has met through our common experience. This year I’m excited to run with members of my family - Evan’s sister, cousin and aunt. It will be a special day for our family and the sixth Memorial Day Weekend that has a different meaning for us.
Once a month a new family somewhere in Vermont receives a call like we did six years ago, so thank you so much for whatever you can give to support the wonderful work they do at the Vermont Children’s Hospital at Fletcher Allen!
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