What a full day! Living Life Large on the road. Living for today & making it count.
The day brought irony, adventure , beauty, children’s laughter & then raw sadness again.
Let’s start with the beauty….. hellloooo Manitoba! A province of fields, grain towers, long straight roads & wonderful community driven people. We saw it all!
The sense of community is evidently vibrant & close knit. They care about each other & they have been so welcoming to us all. Diana & her son Caleb made our team breakfast in Glenboro, MB to give us a great start to the day. The next community of Treherne donated water to us when I went shopping for supplies….the cashier “Belle even came to find me to give us a donation, as her family too (both young & old) has been affected by cancer. (There is no corner of the world not affected).
Then we hit the Mennonite community of Elm Creek. More beautiful people! We visited the local school there & the children were cheering with delight! The sounds of their laughter resounded in my heart. These little souls with their full lives ahead of them eager to know why we were doing this ride. They asked great questions & truly had interest. It made me smile (but inside of my head I wondered which child would get cancer next)….1 in every 285 kids in Canada are affected by cancer- how many in each school does that work out to be? Pretty scary.
I kept my thoughts to myself…..I wanted to revel in the innocence I was seeing in their eyes. But inside I was crying for the kids I know that have yet to be diagnosed.
I tried to shake the thoughts so I turned to the scenery of the day for a reprieve. I soaked in the pretty fields & tried to entertain the cyclists when they cycled by….anything to make them smile…. they just keep pedalling & pedalling & the weather was wet. I was so proud of their perseverance. Actually in awe… the wind was not their friend today. Hot chocolate was!
So now we come to the part that shook me & took a twist. We headed for Cancer Care Manitoba. This edifice has a heartbeat. It is the main children’s cancer research center in Canada & also hosts a lot of children currently being treated for various cancers. The children’s playroom is designed to be fun & give the kids a chance to play & feel normal for an hour or two in their day. These kids miss school, they miss their friends, social lives, normality & many miss their families as not all parents can afford to take time off work to stay with them . Often families get separated for periods of time if they don’t live nearby. I met such a family today. I met Amara today. I met her family too & I heard her story. Amara has osteosarcoma. It is not easily treatable & we are using the same drugs to treat it that were designed 20 yrs ago. To date we don’t have any new drugs that work. She was stage 4 when she presented at hospital. Her prognosis is poor. She was in tears as her mother told us her story. My heart hit my stomach. As a mother of a child who has had cancer, I know firsthand that you assume that your child will survive no matter what-It is part of your parental protection mechanism. You can’t imagine your child NOT surviving. But reality tells otherwise… I will pray for Amara tonight. My heart aches for what is a probable ugly outcome. I was not expecting to feel the emotions that I felt. A cruel reality check once again.
All I can say is “ this is why I do this”! How many kids have to die today? I am so sick of the sadness & worry I see in their eyes. Kids should not be worrying about dying. How would you feel if you knew your child was dying….pretty gut wrenching eh? As a mother you just can’t go there……just sayin.