For those of you who are new, I wanted to take this opportunity to tell you why we race. Why a 5k? It's a funny thing, really. I am not a runner. I don't even pretend to like running. However, two of my best friends are devoted (obsessed) runners. When Lucy first got sick I honestly believe that God laid on their hearts the idea of a 5k in Lucy's honor. I am so thankful that they listened to His calling and I believe that God has chosen to bless their faithfulness. The first race was a great success, the second was larger than we could have imagined. This year's race is going to far exceed any expectation that any of us might have had.
The money that is raised will be completely earmarked for the Go Lucy Go Foundation's work at LeBonheur Children's Research Hospital. If you want to know why we race, please read the post that I was asked to write for LeBonheur's Practical Parenting Blog.
Becoming a mother was, by far, the most amazing thing that has ever happened to me. I call it a blessing to have had this honor 3 times. I think the most profound realization came when I first held my children and immediately realized that I had never felt such feelings of love. In an instant your whole purpose for living changes, as does your role as a woman. You become nurturer, provider, sustainer, protector and comforter. Hands down, becoming a mother is my greatest accomplishment.
I read a quote once that said “No one will ever know the strength of my love for you. After all, you’re the only one who knows what my heart sounds like from the inside.” Most moms never get to prove their love to their children in as dramatic fashion as I have. When my almost 5 year old daughter, Lucy, was diagnosed with Medulloblastoma, cancer of the brain and spine, our lives turned upside down. For two years I held my daughter as she fought for her life. Through her journey I found a strength that I never knew I possessed.
My husband and I vowed that even if cancer took Lucy’s health it would never take our lives. We praise God daily for his healing blessings and we have pledged our lives to helping others who are going through similar situations. The time we spent at LeBonheur Children’s Hospital opened our eyes to a world to which we had never been exposed. Quite honestly, it is a world I wish I never knew.
When I look back on our time at LeBonheur I am reminded of what led our family to create a non-profit organization in our daughter’s honor. The Go Lucy Go Foundation helps support families that are coping with the diagnosis of brain cancer. The Neuroscience Institute at LeBonheur is one of the top neuroscience programs in the country and families from all over the world come here for surgery and treatment. During our two years of being in and out of the hospital for weeks at a time, we came to empathize with the families who were walking in shoes that were once ours.
Through the Go Lucy Go Foundation we strive to meet the non-medical needs of these families by providing a food pantry, individual refrigerators for the patient rooms and grants to help parents pay for things such as food, housing, and utility payments. One of the first things we learned after Lucy was diagnosed was that our only concern was caring for our sick daughter. We don’t want families to be torn between being by the side of a sick or dying child and working to make sure they have food. The Foundation also helps provide rehabilitation equipment for the Neuroscience floor and we provide hot, catered meals for the families and staff throughout the year. Giving back to the hospital and the families it serves is our way of honoring the nurses, doctors and staff who became and remain part of our family.
It's not to late to be a part of this year's race. Registration is closed online but you can still sign up the morning of the race.
I'm leaving you with a reason to smile. If anyone knows of any contact in the Zac Brown Band, please tell them "thank you" for us. The song Chicken Fried became Lucy's anthem while she was receiving treatment. It didn't matter the time of day or how badly she was feeling, she would sing this song. We played this song over and over quietly in her room last June when we thought she was dying. When she woke from the coma and the doctors told us she had very little brain activity we know they were wrong when she would be right on time with a word or two from this song. It's funny, I won't listen to this song alone. I just can't. But if Lucy is with me we both sing to the top of our lungs! (Be sure to turn the music off at the bottom of the page.)