Five years ago I became, the luckiest woman alive. I became, a mother of a healthy baby girl. Her name is Aven, and she changed my life forever.
|Me and my baby girl...Aven|
On one level, the change is obvious. My house resembles a daycare instead of a triathlete’s gear closet. There are toys on the floor where there used to be running shoes and allen wrenches. I used to need black out curtains to sleep and now I can sleep in a twin bed, with a 5 year old strangling/hugging me, and all the lights on.
Aven loves pink, is infatuated with alicorns (Unicorn + Pegasus – I had no clue what it was either until she taught me), wants to be an artist, and is the most precious little girl in my life.
I have been told stories of another little girl who was, I think, a lot like my Aven. Emily Ransom’s mother has told me Emily was fashionable and bright, particular and opinionated, and she was adored. She was the little sister of two older brothers, and she was known as the Pink Power Ranger Princess. In October of 2005, at the tender age of 2, she was diagnosed with stage IV Neuroblastoma, a childhood cancer of the sympathetic nervous system. She bravely completed 5 rounds of Chemotherapy, had 3 surgeries, 4 blood transfusions, and made 2 trips to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital where her stem cells were harvested. On February 20, 2006, during her 4th surgery, she won her battle with cancer and, as her family says, “went to swim in Heaven and dance with Jesus.” All of this in less than 5 months.
Every time I think of Emily, I think of Aven. Their mutual love of pink, their white blonde hair, and the love they give others. I am devastated when I think of Emily’s absence in their family and their home. I could not bear to lose my daughter. I don’t know how the Ransoms – or any family who loses a child – survive such a terrible loss.
But each year 600-700 children are diagnosed with Neuroblastoma; there are currently 9 children in Chattanooga who are fighting this disease. For high-risk patients, there is only a 30% survival rate, and that statistic has remained the same for 30 years.
Emily’s Power for a Cure is a foundation established by Emily’s family to raise awareness and raise funds to find a cure for Neuroblastoma, while supporting families and children who are currently in treatment for the disease.
I am dusting off the cob-webs from my tri gear and racing a half Ironman with other Power for a Cure members in Chattanooga, TN on May 22nd. I hope to raise $1,000 in memory of Emily Ransom and in honor of all of the other children who are fighting to live. I am getting my courage and determination from Emily and Aven.
“We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It’s easy to say, ‘It’s not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.’ Then there are those who see the need and respond.”
Mr. Fred Rogers
Mr. Fred Rogers
Here is a link to my fundraising page: