One Last Christmas

Everyday Providence focuses on the ways that we can be prepared in our everyday lives.  Sometimes, there is just not anyway to be prepared.  Thirty one years ago today was one of those days for a couple in Peoria, IL as they learned that their only son had cancer, was being emergency airlifted to Saint Jude’s in Memphis, and had only a mere 1 in 10,000 chance for survival.  The words don’t even seem to make sense as they enter your brain.  How could this happen?  What could have been done?  What will we do?  Would this be his last Christmas?  To be a parent and to be so helpless is such a terrifying combination.

The next 106 days were filled with chemotherapy, radiation treatments, hair loss, coma, 104.5 degree fever, too many blood draws for a child to have to endure, and so much more.  However, it was also filled with love, caring, and a never diminishing hope.  A hope that would make a Christmas magical, even one spent with IV’s, food tubes and sickness.  A hope that would drive a grandmother to keep every Christmas decoration up until her “Babydoll” came home.  And a hope that it would all make sense some day.

I know this story so well because 31 years ago today, I was that seven year old.  Looking back on having cancer, on being a St. Jude’s Kid, and my Grandmother having “Christmas” in April when I made it home has changed the way I look at life, and the way I live my life.  I got to have that Christmas, and many more!  Cancer research has come so far, and so many lives are able to be saved that were not, even as recently as just a few years ago.  The saddest part is that not all of those children get their “One Last Christmas”

Dax did get his one last Christmas, but was called home to Jesus shortly thereafter.  Pray for these children, pray for their families, and this Christmas, instead of the gift card, the mug, the popcorn, etc.  Give a donation to Saint Jude’s in someone’s name and let them know that they made a difference for Christmas!

Give to Saint Jude's Children's Research Hospital 

God Bless,

G.W. Van Alstine

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