This giving story comes from our #MyGivingStory contest. You can share your story and your chosen nonprofit organization could win a $10,000 grant, or another prize. Visit the contest gallery for inspiration and to vote for your favorites. This story comes from Briana, who is inspired by the work of Footprints of Fight:
Our family was forever changed on August 15, 2014, when Mason Jon, our active 4 year old was diagnosed with a rare form of pediatric cancer (nephroblastoma/Wilms tumor). Looking back it feels like a lifetime ago and yet we remember the details all so clear. Despite all the bad days we endured, the memory that sticks out the most was the amazing support we had from our family and friends. After receiving world-class care from Seattle Children's Hospital, we quickly realized that the real journey for us began once we left the hospital as we had to figure out how we would navigate as a family throughout the treatment process. As the journey has been very challenging we have been blessed with a strong support system. Family and friends rallied around us to help reduce the stress of our everyday life so that we could focus on our kids, which was most important! We know that we could not have made it through without the incredible friends, family, and strangers alike that lifted us up and carried us through!
When you are faced with a life changing thing such as cancer you learn a lot- you learn a lot about your self, your spouse, your kids, your family but I think the thing you learn about the most is HOW to love. If we learned anything from all the people that rallied around us was we learned how to love others when we might not have the answer.
In turn, we want to provide this same support to other families in Washington by providing some of the same services (professional housecleaning, gas cards, grocery cards,) we received during the treatment process that helped us rally together as a family and continue through the journey with courage, optimism, strength, and resiliency.
Our son Mason is currently Cancer Free and his scans continue to come back showing "NED", no evidence of disease! We have said since day 1 of this crazy cancer journey that once we were on the other side of treatment we would do whatever we could to pay it forward and give back- Footprints of Fight is that promise!! We are constantly humbled by the support and living each day with this unwanted gift of perspective that cancer has given us!
The most humbling part since Footprints of Fight started is the same people that stepped up to support our family have also taken on the mission of Footprints of Fight and made it possible that in just two short years we have been able to provide stress reducing services to over 60 families in the state of Washington! These services are not just a one time thing but our goal is to be with a family for the longevity of the intense chemotherapy ranging from 3 months to over a year. Our team and board is 100 percent volunteer based and the time and love they continuously pour in this organization is nothing short of breathtaking!
When you hear words like "your son has cancer" your world is forever changed, some changes for better and so for worse. Our hope and prayer is that Footprints of Fight gives purpose to his struggle.