Kristie Sharp Williams
It's War on Childhood Cancer
If you have not liked Eli’s Block Party page, I hope that you will so that you can see the wonderful pictures from Superhero Day 2019 raising awareness for childhood cancer in our community (I only have a very small sampling here. The theme was "It's War on Childhood Cancer" with Marvel's Captain America as our featured Super. It was the best one yet, but that seems silly to say since, naturally, I would think each year it should be expected to improve over the past year because growth would be expected. So, I think we are tracking just fine in our growth as far as size and participation. We had more participation and interest leading up to the event. We had Superheroes visit a school that raised money for us. We had kids doing crafts to sell to raise money. We had car clubs eager to join the parade which ended up being 60 vehicles. We had more Real Heroes join the parade like Purple Heart recipient Jamie King. We had some businesses decorate their retail windows for Superhero Day and childhood cancer. We had Superheroes participate in media interviews. And, believe me when I tell you that our Superheroes are like celebrities. The crowd absolutely loves them. They are engaging and always positive and patient. We get so many requests for them to make appearances at other events, and we also always get a lot of requests to join the group as a Superhero. So, it's the classic, everybody wants to be around them and everybody wants to be them. Ha! But, how I know Superhero Day was better this year than the last is this: I went to bed at 11:30 p.m. the night before as opposed to 2:30 a.m. I sat down several times throughout the day and even had lunch and had lunch sitting down. I was home by 4:30 p.m. with the Uhaul unloaded and all canopies, tables, supplies packed back in the storage unit. How I know it is improving is that our volunteers are starting to own the event.
Because we have THE best core group of volunteers that take the responsibility of their area personally AND pick up any slack when they see the need.
I am needed less and less for the details, and that is a good thing because it can’t grow if my responsibilities don’t thin. I told them that I wish there was something on TV like Cupcake Wars but maybe it’s Charity Wars where nonprofits compete to host an event in a town and I would jump at the chance to enter us. I know! What a cool show that would be.
The event still doesn’t make much money in proportion to its size and the effort. But, it’s a free event to attend, we don’t have a lot of ways that we make money and this crowd of young families is not really the crowd to raise money on. So, we have some decisions to make as the event starts to take shape into what the community wants (continued).
I did a handful of interviews in the media about the event and one question was “Why Superheroes?” Well, I think that Superheroes represent strength and courage and bravery, which are all characteristics that a childhood cancer kid has to have to do what they need to do. And, it’s those characteristics that anyone, adult or child, can relate to or can apply to their own lives. Only cancer patients can relate to the pain of treatment, physical and emotional. Only a cancer kid parent can relate to the pain of watching your child go through treatment. But, there is not a person that can’t relate to needing to have strength in a life event. There’s not a person that doesn’t need courage to do things in their lives that need to be done. So, I think that’s why Superheroes. Childhood cancer kids are the examples we need because if they can do what they do, then we can do what we need to do. And Superheroes are fun! The theme is universal across age and gender. It’s easy to participate with just a cheap t-shirt from Wall-Mart.
That was our last fundraising event for Eli’s Block Party for the year. We are the beneficiary of a car show October 12th in our town, after that we will wrap up 2019. We are well behind on our fundraising goals this year, so when you start looking for a tax-break at the end of the year, please consider a donation to EBP via our website www.elisblockparty.org. And take a look at our website as well, check out Dr. Friedman’s work for which we are raising money. It is very exciting and we are honored to have the chance to support it this year.
A “cyber friend” of mine, another cancer mom whose child has been fighting for about 10 years, will face her child’s passing within the next couple of weeks. The child is a teenager, maybe 17, I can’t remember, but has been an example of grace and courage throughout her journey. She has several siblings, she is the oldest. So, we are especially mindful of these kids as they endure what is happening in their home. They have grown up with cancer, hardly known anything else, so the adjustment for them when she is going will be hard for them on may levels. This is what cancer does. It not only molests the cancer kid, it reaches those who love and know the cancer kid. Even after a cancer kid is gone, cancer continues to weigh on the siblings. Caleb will still every now and then have a day where he is just kind of “cry-ie.” He misses Eli, and one day it bothered him because he didn’t feel like he was remembering Eli to the level he had been in the past, so he felt guilty about that and it upset him. How awful is that for a kid’s brain to deal with. So, please lift Riley’s name to her Creator asking for a peaceful surrendering of this life for a new one, and her siblings Will, Stella, Jacob, Irelyn, and Isaac that their burden be light and that they embrace understanding. Many years ago, I came to the realization that the Evil One isn’t after the soul of the cancer kid, he or she already belongs to their Creator, but it’s the parents, the siblings, others watching that he has his sites on. The days and years following their sister’s passing will be confusing and painful for these siblings. Thank you for helping to put a hedge of protection around them.