Love and Comfort in the Final Days

If I had a choice, I would be an “expert” on how the brain works, American history or songs from the 70’s. Unfortunately, I have just a little knowledge of those interesting topics. I do however have experience in losing a child to cancer, not a topic anyone would ever sign up to learn about….

Saying Goodbye to Normal

by Rachael Kittleson Kelsey’s Mom www.KelseysPromise.org As normal goes, we were a normal family…two daughters, two dogs, a neighborhood full of kids, family dinners, carpools, homework, and messy rooms. Our oldest daughter Kelsey was a great kid. At 14, she was a high honors student, athlete, musician, and volunteer who loved Journey and Queen, The…

She Did Not Lose Her Battle

We recently shared this blog from Libby Kranz on our Gift from a Child website.  Libby Kranz is one of our partners in Gift from a Child. She was kind enough to share her thoughts and and the recording of an emotional interview she granted to a local TV station about the loss of her…

I Want To Talk About Michael

Wow, I cannot believe that Childhood Cancer Awareness Month is finally coming to a close! Most of you know that helping kids with cancer is the passion that fuels every decision I make and action I take. I am years away from (hopefully) becoming a pediatric oncologist, but I have the power to advocate and…

Cancer is a Journey, Not a Battle

I cringe every time I read or hear someone is “fighting cancer or battling cancer”. This language implies a war, which means there is a winner and a loser. I’m betting you know someone who died from cancer and you also know that person was anything but a loser. I realize it’s difficult to know…

When I Think of Michael

When I think of Michael, many of the images I have of him are often frozen in the seventh grade. That school year, by some stroke of luck, he, Bridget and I all had lockers next to each other. Everyday when I got to my locker, I could always count on Michael to greet me…

The Misleading Statistics

When I hear 90% cure rate for childhood cancers I want to scream or possibly throw up!  That stat is SO misleading.  That stat is talking about surviving 5 years.   Living with cancer for five years IS NOT CURING cancer!  Especially if you are 6 years old when you are diagnosed.  This steers research…

Reflections On My Hike

In the summer of 2015, before starting my third year at Pomona College, I decided to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. More specifically, I decided that a long walk along the western geological spine of the continental United States from Mexico to Canada was a goal that could not be left to slowly erode over…

Hands

Looking down at these hands of mine I see calluses rimmed with dirt dotting their landscapes, cuts and scabs joining my mountainous knuckles to the valleys in the topography of my palms, and vast clearing of exposed flesh encircling my nails. I see bloodied skin dangling from my right pointer finger from the time it…

Why is Tissue Not Sexy?

Denver is a great city… just not as “hippie/granola” as I pictured. We went for ISPNO… the International Symposium on Pediatric Neuro-Oncology and came away feeling encouraged and excited that tissue donation is absolutely the right focus for Swifty.  ISPNO is held every other year and doctors and researchers from all over the world attend. …