Lighthouse For Hope is a 501(c)3 recognized non-profit that helps provide financial assistance for families that are fighting pediatric cancer. Cancer is an evil that is not only physically and emotionally challenging, but also financially challenging. Our goal is to alleviate some of the financial stress by providing assistance for day-to-day expenses. The proceeds from the shirts will go towards gas cards, groceries, and clothes. By purchasing a shirt or hat, you are helping families who have a child with cancer.
Growing up in my home I was taught to live faithfully, trust in God, equip myself to serve those around me, and reflect good graces on every person I met. I embraced these lessons and considered my life to be relatively normal. Little did I know the extent to which my faith would be tested and how radically my life would change.
I was caught off guard during my senior year of high school, a year that I anticipated would be full of excitement, by an extreme exhaustion that I had never experienced before. I slept all the time and missed a lot of school. I didn't give it much consideration. I graduated in May of 2011, and in July, right before I was supposed to leave for the University of Arizona, I got really sick. With searing abdominal pain and my legs covered in bruises, we went to the ER. My blood was drawn and within minutes the head of the ER proceeded to say it was a good thing we came in when we did because I had almost no platelets and there was something wrong with my blood cells. The next thing I knew I was being transferred in an ambulance to Phoenix Children's Hospital with a possible diagnosis of leukemia. The next morning I was diagnosed with Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia and admitted to the oncology floor with plans to start chemo right away.
My life was turned upside down in no more than 3 hours. At that point the only thing I could do was surrender. I gave into the fear, surrendered what I couldn't understand and waited. there were times when it was really ugly. Times when I was afraid to go to sleep because I didn't know if I would wake up, times when my mom and dad had to hold me down in my hospital bed while I sobbed because all I wanted to do was go home, times when I couldn't even talk because my mouth and throat were covered in mouth sores. However, for how many ugly times there were, there was always hope.
Almost 4 years later after countless doses of chemo, hair loss, bone marrow biopsies, spinal taps, constant nausea, and drastic changes in my appearance, I wouldn't have it any other way. So many amazing things have happened to me that never would have happened if I didn't have cancer. I say all the time, it's been the best and worst time of my life. I've laughed and cried harder than I ever had and built strong relationships with people that I never would have met before.
Throughout my experience I was fortunate to have a strong support system. sadly, there are so many families who have very little support. This is where we come in. we help pay for gas, food, clothes, and any other supplies they may need. Along with the financial support, we provide an emotional support as well.
Despite my youth, I will continue to use my experiences to touch the lives of people whose struggle I understand so well. With a second chance at life, I am determined to spend it giving back to families fighting the good fight.