When my husband, Michael, was diagnosed with cancer, Jack was barely a toddler, and we has just started our life as a family. We went from marking down milestones in Jack's baby book to scheduling oncologist visits overnight. We remained positive, however, ready to face this opponent and move on with our life.
Over the next three years, Michael faced a myriad of cancer-related issues that affected him and, consequently, our young family: the characteristic hair loss and skin rashes from chemotherapy; physical limitations earned from multiple, invasive surgeries; loss of energy and strength; 8 hour treatment days that would steal him away from dinner time, play time, bath time— all obstacles keeping Michael and I both away from our young son.
We continually worried about what long-term effect this would have on Jack. Would he be alright? What could we do to help him cope better? What is coping for a 3 year old anyway? If the very worst happens, how can we ensure it will not define his entire life? These questions followed us like a shadow, much like cancer itself.
Cancer is horrific, senseless, and tragic. But, possibly the worst part of the disease is its perpetuity. Like all cancer patients, fighters, and survivors know, cancer has an undefined timeline and, with it, a persistent, nagging worry. Even for those with a definite game plan, treatment options, remission, there is an ongoing worry that defines the cancer journey.
When Michael was losing his battle with cancer—when his own mortality was right in front of him--his primary concern was still on the health and well-being of his family. The Lonon Foundation is my way of honoring my husband’s memory by helping other parents carry less of that burden. We do this by advocating for families like mine, and developing and funding initiatives that will provide support to their children as they undergo this part of their journey.
As parents, we need to know that our children will be alright, no matter what. The Lonon Foundation focuses on ensuring just that.
This #GivingTuesday we celebrate 1 year as The Lonon Foundation and 1 step closer to getting the resources to these children who need them.
On #Giving Tuesday, we ask that you #GiveforLove, #GiveforPlay, and #GiveforUPLIFT.
-Anna Lonon, Chair/President of the Lonon Foundation