As the parents of a child battling a serious illness, surprising things can start to happen:
- You might receive random cash in the mail from strangers.
- People who barely know you might offer to bring you supper or do your laundry.
- Friends and relatives might even organize fundraisers for your family.
The news of a sick child tugs at the heartstrings of many people. There is such a feeling of helplessness at the thought of a child suffering, and often people are moved to help in any way they can.
Our family was blown away by all the people who reached out to us after Cooper’s diagnosis. And while it was amazing to feel all that love and support, sometimes it was hard to accept the help.
Support You Didn’t Know You Needed
We felt like we could handle things on our own. We thought we could manage. It might be hard, but we could get by. And in a way, accepting help almost felt like we would be admitting failure—like we couldn’t take care of our own family.
But the thing is, when people want to help, sometimes they won’t take no for an answer. And to be honest, we really did need their help, even if it was hard to admit it. So, we were fortunate that they were so persistent.
Through the years, we have been blessed with generosity that has taken many forms. Some people have sent money. Some have surprised us by shingling our house while our son was in the hospital. Others have shown up in droves at fundraisers, or have taken care of our kids or dog without allowing us to pay them.
No matter what form the generosity has taken, there’s one thing that we have learned over the years: It’s not just about the money or what they are giving us. It’s about the connection, the sense of community.
When Cooper was first diagnosed, I can remember spending hours looking out those sixth-floor windows at all the people driving past on the streets below. They just kept going about their everyday lives, completely unaware that our world was falling apart.
I felt so separated from them.
But every time someone reached out to our family to help—when I was brave enough to accept—I felt less alone. I felt more connected to the people all around us, and less lonely in the midst of our battle.
In The Fight Together
We hear a lot about the bad, evil things happening in our world today, and it can be very disheartening. But through this experience with childhood cancer, we have such a great opportunity to take a front-row seat to all the good that still exists.
So, while I know it can be difficult for hardworking families to accept help, learning to do so can be a blessing of its own. It can raise our spirits and give us new hope as we are reminded that we are all connected.
We don’t have to fight our battles alone.