Grateful For The Chaos

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Grateful For The Chaos

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My immune system isn't what it used to be. I don't think it will ever be what it was pre-cancer. When I am stressed and have too much on my plate, and then finally get a chance to breathe again - I crash and burn . . . hard. If I have a busy month where I am going from thing-to-thing and stressed about life/work, the following month I am sick. My hands and feet swell up, my body aches with a fever and I stay in bed all day. These next few weeks are going to be rough on my immune system. I am taking a handful of vitamins, exercising when I have time, and trying to get enough sleep in hopes that I will trick my body and beat the system. I even ordered a green tea at Starbucks today instead of a coffee - big things, people. 

It is a good thing that these next few weeks are nonstop, though. After 2 years of hoping and praying that Lighthouse will finally take off and be able to help more families, it has. So many doors have opened this last month. I have quit my job and am focusing on Lighthouse full time, which is terrifying and exciting at the same time. Next week I have a meeting at Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago with the oncology social workers. I have been trying to get into other hospitals to become a resource for their families for quite some time and it's finally happened. While I am in Chicago we will also be helping a family. 

When I return from Chicago I will have two days to prepare before I head to Houston. When Hurricane Harvey hit, I felt compelled to help. Lighthouse put out a Harvey Relief shirt. In the process of finding families to help, I became overwhelmed with how many people are still struggling and feel forgotten. My inbox became full of applications from parents who were desperate to help their families. My one criteria for the applicants was that they have a child with cancer, life-threatening-illness, or disability. People wrote in who have children with Leukemia, Neuroblastoma, Sickle Cell Anemia, Autism, Down Syndrome, and severe emotional disorders. I knew after reading their stories that I had to go to them. Thanks to the generosity of a dear friend, we are able to make that happen. At the end of this month, myself and two others will be headed to Houston to represent Lighthouse and help victims of the hurricane. 

The entire time I am in Houston, my mom will be moving out of the place my family has called home for 15 years. Starting a business is no easy task. I am so grateful to have parents who understand that it takes time and lots of patience. Until I am able to support myself off of Lighthouse, I am still living with my mom. When I return from Houston, it won't be to my house. 

Moving, traveling to Chicago and Houston, trying to find an office space, fundraising for families, applying for grants, all while trying to plan our second Lighthouse Holiday Party. Lighthouse is really starting to grow in ways that I have been waiting for for what feels like forever. It is all happening at once, which is so exciting, but I am trying to not get overwhelmed and pull back. I am currently listening to Brené Brown's book Braving The Wilderness. I am kind of obsessed with her right now and watched all her TED Talks and interviews on YouTube last night when I should have been sleeping. In an interview with Oprah she talks about how joy is terrifying. This confused me at first, because who would be terrified of feeling joyful? Brené says, "When we lose our tolerance to be vulnerable, joy becomes foreboding." and that sometimes in our experiences, we are "dress rehearsing tragedy so we can beat vulnerability to the punch." I don't want to fail. I don't want Lighthouse to be something that in 5 years people have forgotten about. I think in some ways I have been "dress rehearsing" failure and not pushing myself so that I won't be disappointed if it doesn't work. 

You cannot practice joy without being grateful. The feelings of joy and gratitude go hand-in-hand. I must stop avoiding success and what I am meant to do for fear of the worst. Instead, I must practice gratitude. I am grateful for experiencing cancer and all that it has brought to my life. I am grateful for 2 years of hard work and feeling stuck. I am grateful for the busyness and chaos that is to come. 

To stay updated on all that is to come for Lighthouse, make sure to follow us on Instagram: @lighthouseforhope. This is where I update the most frequently. 

We will be helping lots of families while we are in Houston. To help us do this, visit our Amazon Wish List

Be a light!

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The 4%.

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The 4%.

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Every single day 32 children are diagnosed with cancer. 4 of those children will not survive. The rest can suffer from long term effects from their treatment.

$5.067 BILLION in government funding is for cancer research. 4% of that goes towards pediatric cancer. 

Average cost of cancer treatment for 1 child is $500,000. Even with insurance, out-of-pocket costs average $40,000 per child for treatment. 40% of a families monthly income (on average) will go to cancer-related costs that are NOT direct medical bills such as transportation, decreased income, and relocation for treatment. 

These numbers are staggering. They have to change. These kids deserve to be more than just 4%. 

Lighthouse For Hope covers the things that insurance doesn't cover. While we can't make all these extra expenses go away, we can make a dent. Some of the best things people did for my families during one of our trials with cancer was give us gas cards and fill our fridge. At one point I was driving over 40 miles to the hospital every day for 12 weeks in a car that sometimes couldn't even make the trip to Target. 

We can make sure that these families can buy gas to drive to and from the hospital, put food on the table, and have clean clothes to wear to chemo. If even for just a brief moment, they do not have to worry about affording basic necessities while experiencing the physical, emotional, and financial setbacks caused by childhood cancer. 

Join us and be a light. 

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You CAN help.

I received an email this morning that said "Unfortunately (but also fortunately) I have not been touched by cancer close enough to be able to help you." This kind of struck me. Often people tell me that they can't help me because they don't have any money to donate. While financial support of Lighthouse is extremely important, it is not the only way. I am here to tell you that not only do we need help, but you CAN help. 

Childhood cancer is the number one disease killer of children in the U.S. Every 2 minutes a child is diagnosed with cancer. One in five children diagnosed with cancer in the U.S. will not survive. Childhood cancer is a big problem. You may not have been personally touched by it, but you might be. And you can be touched by it by hearing the stories of the families we help. 

There are so many ways you can help out Lighthouse For Hope. 

  1. Donate. You can either donate by clicking the "DONATE" button on our homepage or by purchasing some of our merchandise. Proceeds will go directly to families fighting the good fight.
  2. Become an ambassador. If you are a college student, please apply to be part of our Ambassador For Hope program.
  3. POST. This is quite possibly the biggest way you can help out Lighthouse for Hope right now. We need help raising awareness. Post a picture in your Lighthouse shirt or hat and share a little about Lighthouse's mission and how easy it is to get involved. If you do not have any Lighthouse merchandise, you are more than welcome to repost one of our images. Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and like us on Facebook. 
  4. Fundraise! There are so many fundraising ideas you can start to benefit Lighthouse. Run a 5k and get friends and family to sponsor you, read a stack of books, jump rope for 24 hours - the sky is the limit! Do something challenging for yourself and ask friends and family to make a donation.

Lighthouse is always looking for helping hands. We are eager to make a difference this year and we can't do it alone.  Join us in the fight against pediatric cancer!

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