We are There for You

Know we are here for you.

The uncertainty of cancer can often be the largest stressor when your child is diagnosed. Not knowing if the treatment is working, how you will get time off from work, what the prolonged separations will do to your other children or your family unit, or where the money will come from to pay the growing bills.

Within a month of Nick being diagnosed, my friend Jen at the library said that Gina from the Catie Hoch Foundation wanted to give us gas and food gift cards. I was floored that someone would want to help a total stranger in such a basic way. We were OK, and I didn’t think I should take it when others probably needed it more.

Gina came to the library and gave me the cards. I learned something that day. Sometimes people know what you need more than you do. I accepted them, thanked her, and knew she was there if we needed anything else.

I used the cards when the daily trips to the hospital and doctors took their toll. It helped us financially, but it did more than that. Her outreach gave us that sense of community, of being cared for, of being seen, and comforted.

I never thought I would be in the same place that Gina was with her foundation. Yet here we are. I have always remembered that sense of camaraderie I felt from someone who had been on the same road as me. One of the first services Nick’s Fight to be Healed provided was financial assistance to families. Just in the last month we have supported families with gift cards for food and travel. We have paid to keep the heat on and for mortgages.

These are essentials that everyone needs to remain healthy, safe, and secure. Providing these services reduce stress, but these acts do so much more. When we send a gift card with a handwritten note, we really mean it when we say we are here for you. In addition to assisting with the financial details, we are a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen, arms to wrap around you when the journey feels impossible. We are kindred spirits who have been where you have been. And even if we haven’t, as people fueled by love, we open our arms to you.

It takes more than medicine and stress reducers to get a family through a cancer diagnosis and back on the road to life. It takes people who will dig deep no matter how painful to show our families that they matter, they are cared for, loved, and valued. That they are human beings going through one of the hardest times in their lives and sometimes just need a simple hug. Or a tap dance and kiss from Chloe, our pet therapy dog.

I am so very proud of what our foundation does, as well as what the other foundations do to give back and raise up our beautiful families. Today I send out a big hug to everyone who needs it and an even bigger thank you to the selfless volunteers and staff who give their hearts, because they simply couldn’t do it any other way.

The Kindness of Others

On Wednesday, May 9, Nick’s Fight to be Healed Foundation held its 3rd Annual Fight Cancer with Amore fundraiser at the Lark Tavern in Albany. Rob Amore of Amore Clothing sponsors the event, reserves the venue, invites friends and business associates, and gathers raffles to raise money that supports local children fighting cancer. Rob and I went to The College of Saint Rose together, but had lost touch.  Three years ago we reconnected at our sons’ soccer game. 

The hardest part about meeting new people or meeting up with old friends is telling them Nick’s story.  Some people get it without having to go directly through the experience and some can’t wait to get away. Rob got it and has been supporting the foundation ever since.  Now  three years down the road I thought to myself, How do I build awareness and empathy with people who don’t know me, my child, or the foundation?

Well, that night I discovered that opening up to people and establishing an emotional connection is the path to empathy.  I spoke with a man who asked who Nick was.  When I explained that he is my son, his whole face softened. He lost his baby child.  We felt a connection in a crowded restaurant filled with strangers.  He clasped my hand and asked what he could do to help.

Besides the fact that financial support allows the foundation to assist more families with medical costs and other bills, his compassion helped me.  When I miss my son, it’s nice to know that others care and want to lend a helping hand.  The kindness of others nurtures healing and they are no longer considered strangers.

Thank you to all who showed kindess and generosity at this event and throughout the year.

Rob Amore and his wife, Rosella, enjoying the evening at the Lark Tavern.