was first diagnosed back in September 2005. Though there will be no song to sing, we have memories, both the good and the bad, and my son to honour...and that is exactly what we will do. While there won't be any celebrations or parties, the best thing we can do today, and everyday, is to dust ourselves off, and greet the morning with a smile and laugh...just like Darrel did.
Both Kira and Lauren continue to grow, mature, thrive, and make their parents proud, whether successful or not, with all they do! Each enjoys being in the spotlight: Kira with her drama and improv aspirations; and Lauren with her baton twirling (including winning the Provincial Title earlier this month). With all they have been through at such young ages, it is surprisingly wonderful how well the cope with it all, in addition to the rollercoaster of
life that comes with being teenage girls.
Unfortunately, time has not been so kind to another family member, Darrel's dog Lady. Though she is only seven, and gave birth to 6 healthy puppies last summer, Lady's vision is becoming increasingly impaired. At first it was slightly amusing when she started to miss treats or food being tossed at her (bouncing off her head sometimes), but as it became more apparent that it was because of a physical problem, the laughing stopped. There is a whitish glaze/film over her eyes, and we believe that Lady has cataract eye disease. Seeing her
wandering around hopelessly looking for the ball that is right in front of her quite depressing to the family. I never was a dog person, but Darrel wanted one after he was diagnosed, so Lady (and her puppy Bella that we kept) became a part of the family.
Another recent sad note, in a more general way, has been the "Warrior Eli" Hoax http://warriorelihoax.wordpress.com that has rocked much of the online Childhood Cancer Awareness (CCA) community. For those of you that are unaware, scammers created an elaborate campaign in support of "Eli Dirr", who ontop of battling cancer, had various other
hardships confronting his family. Many in the online community had opened their hearts and bank accounts to assist the needs of the Dirrs. Over the Mother's Day weekend, the hoax was exposed when the imposters' stories went too far. It has since come out that information and photos of several real families (including the majority from a South African blogger) were complied to create the "Eli" persona.This has made any of us re-evaluate our Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites friendships, and group memberships to protect our own children from being tainted by this scandal as well. I deleted and/or was deleted by over 50 people from the CCA community in the wake of Eli. In most cases, it wasn't because of anything that these individuals said or did, it just was the fact I didn't have enough of a personal bond with them to know they were legitimate. There are many known scammers out there as well (who I won't honour with posting their names on Darrel's page), but Eli caught most of us off guard. Perhaps, after this crisis has passed, things may go back to the way they were, but in the meantime, there are Real Kids and Real Families that need our and your help to get through the unpleasant journey that may be before them.
The local Relay for Life, in support of the Canadian Cancer Society, will be taking place on June 15th -16th in Fergus. The Relay for Life has proven to be a big part of the Healing Process for my family. We have taken part each year since Darrel was taken from us, and this will be our 5th time. Our family and friends join together to remember his life, and what it could have been. On April 25th, I was asked to be on The Grand 92.9 with one of the Relay organizers to talk about what the event meant to me. It was a brief segment, probably not heard by many, but if it changed one person's view on the cause, it was more than worth it!!
Team Darrel Relay Page: http://convio.cancer.ca/goto/team-darrel
There are many within the online community who continue to shun involvment in any functions by the Canadian and American Societies because of their poor track records in funding the various childhood cancers. While I fully realize the dollars are disproportionally
distributed among the various types of cancers, the Relay is still an excellent way for the family to pull together, and spread awareness about childhood cancer at the same time. I am personally active with The James Fund, Childhood Cancer Canada, and St Baldrick's, but the Relay is sometimes more than enough for the other family members (and is the only event of its kind that actually takes place in a same town like ours). We all try to do our part, and everyone channels their energies and places their priorities in a different order. Spreading Awareness is about Spreading Awareness...we should not be critical of others methods in the aim and goal is true and the same.
In addition to being Darrel's Birthday, today is also the 11th Annual Mitchell Fraser Memorial Slo Pitch Tournament in Solina, Ontario (in honour and memory of Mitchell, lost to neuroblastoma in December 2001). This will be my second year participating in the event, and I am looking forward to once again getting together with many of The James Fund families. Though I might communicate with many them online throughout the year, this one of the gatherings that most people try to make an appearance at. I'm certainly not much of a ball player, but it will be a fun, yet sometimes emotional day for all involved.
Online Donations are be made at:
Thanks Again to everyone who takes the time to read my blogs and posts here on the main website, Facebook, or on Twitter. These entries have helped me quite a bit over the years, and I've been told they have helped others too. While I may not have new Darrel stories to share with you anymore, all that he was continues to shape the lives of my family on an almost daily basis...probably as much, or even more than if he still sat at the dinner table with us each night.
Happy Birthday Darrel!!
Love and Miss You Little Man