Creating a Ripple Effect

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Abby and Matt, celebrating life!

As we raise awareness this month about childhood cancer, we show the harsh side of it; the devastation, the heartache and pain that our children go through. The posts about childhood cancer facts are very much appreciated, because facts don’t lie. When we are faced with the truth, we can no longer sit back and be complacent.

There are many ways to create change and face a cancer diagnosis. Abby Sayles and her family have shown us a positive and powerful way to battle cancer that is not only effective (Abby is about a year cancer free), but also has caused a ripple effect across the cancer community.

I first met Abby and her family after she married her nurse, Matt Hickling, in a touching ceremony at The Melodies Center. Just this act alone started by the tremendous support Matt showed Abby, raised awareness around the world about what a child with cancer goes through.

Dance to be Healed began to celebrate that support and is now an annual event where children and their families get dressed up, dance, and take time off from their treatment and worries.

For a few years, Abby has walked in our July 4th parade and jumps right into the activity of handing out candy and bags. She truly teaches us that Nothing is Impossible. She is living proof of that.

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Abby always raises awareness in style.

If that wasn’t enough of a ripple effect, Abby and her family started a lemonade stand where she raises money for The Melodies Center and this year for Nick’s Fight to be Healed. Giving back builds community and provides strength to the families who open their hearts to the support.

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Abby, 100% healed and still giving back!

Community makes a huge difference in healing. I truly believe that Abby’s positive attitude helped her to heal. She learned this from her parents and the amazing staff at the clinic.

Now that Abby is done with treatment, she stays connected to her cancer family, because connection continues that ripple effect. The more people understand what a child goes through, the more they will help. When someone who never knew about childhood cancer sees what Abby and other kids have done, then they move forward to create change. Before we know it that ripple turns into a wave of action.

How will you create a ripple effect? What will you do today to help a child with cancer? Doesn’t have to be huge. One stone can cause a ripple.

Amazing Abby

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Abby is amazing in many ways. She is full of vitality, spunk, sass, and love. I had met Abby after she “married” nurse Matt and the wedding video went viral. Her mom, Renee, wanted to have a wedding/dance reception so Abby and Matt could have their “first dance.” The idea spread into a celebration of all our children who are battling and their families.

I have to say that Abby & Matt’s First Dance Celebration isĀ one of my favorite events. I think because that is what it was–an event. We didn’t worry about raising money, we created a safe and festive space for our children to have fun and express their joy of life. It was so successful that it will happen again this year! Mark your calendar for November 5 for “Dance to be Healed!”

This is what Abby does every day. She has so much energy! Every time I see her either at her Lemonade Stand to raise money for childhood cancer research, or at the very successful carnival, or our pig roast, she immediately tags me, says, “You’re it,” and runs! Of course I have to chase her! Abby exudes a warmth and energy that draws people to her, as she freely gives her love.

Abby’s friend, Regan, who was featured this month, was diagnosed with the same exact type of cancer as Abby. It’s disturbing. But Abby takes her supporting role very seriously and looks after Regan. At our summer pig roast, Abby twirled Chase around in a circle, and they laughed uproariously. Abby radiates joy, and I love to be around her.

Living Life Large. That is what our kids with cancer do when they can, because they know first hand that they can be trapped in a bed or the hospital at any time. So they live their life in the present. So much we can learn from our cancer kids. Live life now. Here. Take in the moment wherever you are reading this and absorb the message.

I agree with Abby’s mom, Renee, when she says that, “Watching a child battle cancer is an inspiring and difficult thing. They will encourage you to want to change the world, starting with better treatment and more research.” Abby and all the other children battling encourageĀ us to make a difference and be better people for them.

Abby’s family takes her treatment day by day and are so excited that she will be done this October! They appreciate all the support they have received and give back by being involved in so many fundraising events.

Keep Sparkling, Abby!