Each year leading a handful of those in the community going through a cancer journey themselves or with a loved one share their story. These are the people the efforts of Pink Arrow help in the community. They’re friends and neighbors. You may not even know how cancer has touched them. This series of stories are written by the person you will read about or by someone on their behalf. We thank them for sharing their story and the courage to battle cancer in some way.
If you are interested in volunteering for any upcoming Pink Arrow events please visit these sign-ups and claim a spot or two. Help sell shirts at Peptalk sign up here. To help at Community Day on August 17 sign up here. Volunteer to sell shirts on game day September 8 by signing up here. And if you’re interested in signing up to donate blood on Community Day select your spot here.
The following is the story of Claire who had to endure a cancer journey at a young age.
Eight and a half years ago we were an average young family. We had just purchased our first home, Claire was almost 2, and were expecting the birth of our second child. We thought we had things mostly figured out for that stage in our lives and we were full of plans for the future. December 4th 2009 all of our plans came to a standstill and the bottom dropped out from underneath us when we heard the words: “your daughter has cancer”. Suddenly, the future we were so sure of became hazy and uncertain.
Claire endured several years of intense, hard treatment. We spent more time as residents of the hospital than we did in our home, while our newborn son Kaleb was being loved on and cared for by family and friends. We experienced the lowest lows during that stretch. Reflecting back, those moments are incredibly vivid, but so far away at the same time.
Looking at Claire today, if you did not know her story, or see her scars you would not know how her tiny body fought and beat cancer. Last October, through the grace of God and our amazing Oncologist Dr. Mitchell, Claire was officially declared cancer free. She will endure no more pokes, no more scans, no more harsh treatment. She will see her oncologist annually for a physical. Our family can finally put the nightmare behind us. She is a vibrant and sweet nine-year-old. She is laid back and has joy for life. Not much gets her down. Claire loves to paint, to play with Lego’s and being with her brother. She and Kaleb are the best of friends and have the sweetest bond.
While Claire was in treatment, Melissa became friends with a young woman named Amanda Winn who was undergoing treatment for Hodgkins Lymphoma at Helen DeVos. Amanda went on to start Children’s Healing Center, the nation’s first year-round recreational facility for kids with weak immune systems. As close to a germ-free facility as possible, the Center is the one place that families who have a child at greater risk for infection than their peers can relax, let their children run-free and build community with people who understand exactly what they are going through. In the summer of 2015, Melissa left her corporate job to join the nonprofit industry as associate director at the Center. She feels privileged to use her experience as a cancer mom to support families in similar situations. Learn more about the Center by visiting: www.childrenshealingcenter.org
We are incredibly fortunate to have had the support system that we did during our journey. Our family, friends, and the Lowell community embraced us, prayed for us and cared for us. We are blessed to call Lowell home. Thank you, Pink Arrow for making a difference in the lives of so many.
Matt, Melissa, Claire and Kaleb Block