Hope is powerful. It drives us as individuals. Giving us a reason to strive forward. Hope is a powerful medication.
Over the last 4 years, we have been blessed to be given hope for our family and for our children through the organization HopeKids. During the moments where we felt so frozen in our oldest son’s, Sammy, cancer diagnosis and treatment, they offered a light. They offered hope. They offered an opportunity to be a normal family, to feel like we belong despite the complications of being a medically complex family. HopeKids took the planning of activities and adventures into their own hands, where all we had to do was show up. It was a blessing. When planning more than 5 minutes into the future felt so overwhelming, HopeKids made activities and memories possible.
In the beginning, HopeKids gave our younger son, Logan, time away from the hospital, away from Ronald McDonald House. They gave him an opportunity to be a toddler. Gave us reason to leave Sammy’s side just for a moment and make Logan the priority for a moment at a time. Then after Sammy came home from his 8-month inpatient stay, HopeKids offered events for our family to engage together. Where Sammy could participate just like his peers.
HopeKids offered fully accessible, fully adaptable activities for him and for children with all levels of life-threatening disabilities. He was allowed to just be another kid without limitations. He got to see other kids just like him, to know he was not that different from others. It gave him such joy to see another child with physical limitations. Where families come with children with feeding tubes or central lines always attached. Some with bald heads and with crazy scars. Some with communication devices. Some in wheelchairs. Some with walkers or other adaptive equipment. But a child, just like him. A child who is just seeking to laugh alongside friends. They gave our child normal when “normal” was just part of our reality.
Now in the aftermath of our storm, they keep providing for our family. For Logan, our HopeSibling. Despite our HopeKid, Sammy, no longer being physically present with us as he is forever 6 years old, they continue to show support for our family. The events give me a chance to once again focus on Logan, even when grief can be so overwhelming. I just have to sign up and show up. I can handle that. And Logan loves his HopeFriends, his HopeFamily. He loves being able to be a kid, despite his own grief and trauma from his brother. I love that no matter what my children are accepted, and that Sammy is forever a HopeKid. That we are forever a HopeKid family, even as a bereaved family.
HopeKids is for families with a child who is aged 0-18 with cancer or a life-threatening medical condition. A child with a progressive, degenerative, or malignant condition that may jeopardize the child’s life. HopeKids has been supporting Arizona families, like ours, for 20 years and has now grown to 6 chapters and is continuing to grow. Each month they offer a variety of day adventures, sporting events, theater shows, concerts, drive-thru experiences, virtual events, and other types of fun activities for the whole family. HopeKids believe that “Hope is a powerful medicine.” HopeKids’ goal is for restoring hope and transforming lives. They provide a place of hope and anticipation, a place that is safe and accepting, a place of community and support. HopeKids is focused on the whole family, and inclusive to the whole family.
To learn more about HopeKids and to see if your child qualifies to become a HopeKid, visit https://www.hopekids.org/become-a-hopekid/