For those of you who aren't aware, some of the folks at Paperthreads have been sending cards as a RAK for those in need of a little pick me up! You may have heard about this one from Shirley already, but if not...
I'm so glad I get to share the person chosen for the January feature with you! I've known Aidan for many years, but have been separated by geography. I had the great opportunity to meet back up with him this fall.
I met Aidan when he was about 4 months old. Both his parents, Don & Darii, were in the Air Force with me in Alaska. Aidan had some "birthmarks" that became more noticable over time, and was finally diagnosed with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF-1). NF-1 is a tumor disorder caused by a gene malfunction. It is associated with bone problems, cafe au lait spots (or "birthmarks"), and occassionally causes cancer.
Aidan started having problems using the bathroom when he was about 2 1/2 years old and was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma in February 2005. The bathroom problems were because his tumor was blocking his bladder. His family had to move urgently, as they didn't have the treatment centers needed for chemotherapy in Alaska. Don & Darii also found out that the baby they were carrying (Seth) had congenital heart disease and would need multiple surgeries shortly after birth, so the move needed to be somewhere with cardiothoracic surgical specialists as well. Aidan went through a year of chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery and was tumor free for almost 3 years.
He had a local recurrence of the rhabdomyosarcoma in July 2008, again making it difficult to use the bathroom. This time the surgery involved removing his bladder and forming an ostomy, then he started another series of chemotherapy which ran from July 2008 to July 2009.
Through it all, Aidan, his brother and sister (Seth & Rachel), and Don & Darii have been troopers (I guess Aidan might say "Storm Troopers", since he is obsessed with Star Wars). Their faith has remained steadfast and they have served as an inspiration for others, sharing their experience (and struggles) on his Caring Bridge site.
I am told by Don & Darii that Aidan LOVES to get mail (don't all 7 year olds?), so I can't wait to hear about his reaction when he gets all these cards.
Shirley Clark has all the details on her blog HERE. You can also email her at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out where to send your cards. She does ask that they be postmarked before January 29th!
If you have someone you would like featured for February, please send Shirley an email! A feature needs to be someone who needs cheering up. Maybe the person has lost a spouse, lost a loved pet, been in an accident, best friend moved away, found out they have a disease, etc.