“A Chance to smile about the life of a little boy who fought a disease that’s underfunded and doesn’t play by the rules…”
This weekend, a group of Good Cookies in Charlotte, NC will host their 6th annual Cookies for Kids’ Cancer bake sale. In their first 5 years, they raised over $500,000 for research – making a huge difference in the world of pediatric cancer research, and making their team of dedicated volunteers an integral part of the Cookies for Kids’ Cancer family. So, we began to write a post to honor their efforts, but then our worlds were turned upside down.
Just as we were writing the blog, we received the news that Grier, the son of Charlotte organizer Amy Christenbury, had come to the end of his courageous battle with cancer. At just 9 years old, Grier battled cancer for 6 years and 9 months. But he lived every moment of his 9 years. When we heard the news, we took a collective pause. How could we find the words to honor Grier, a boy with a heart of gold and a never-fading smile?
Then, as is often the case, his mom gave us words that were far better than anything we could write. Last night, she shared a post on Grier’s CaringBridge page that gives a glimpse into their world. Her words beautifully share memories of Grier while also shedding light on exactly why this weekend’s event is so important, and why every bake sale, every donation jar, every box of cookies ordered is so important.
Today, we’re sharing Amy’s words:
I think my friends and family are being asked a question that everyone wants to know… How are we doing? I think there are many answers to that question, and I am not going to answer for everyone in our house. We, as you can expect, have our ups and downs. The kids are back to school. Jeff went to work today, and I am in full bake sale mode. The busier I am the better, and I have functioned like that for a long time.
We have had some hard moments and conversations this week, but nothing compares to last week…or each scan report. I honestly don’t know if I have been numb for years or what? I don’t think I was numb, but I did live in the moment like Grier did, and for that experience I am thankful. I know Grier touched many lives and I know many hearts are grieving right now. He was really good at having a relationship with people.
One thing that has been repeated to me this week more than once is that we all grieve differently…there is no “right” way – I have enjoyed watching videos and looking at pictures of all our adventures over the years. That is not the same for everyone in my house right now. I purposely drive down Hillside to see the lights Grier loved.
I remember him standing and looking out the sunroof. Currently I am watching the tree lighting at Rockefeller Center in NYC and remembering the time Grier and I were there at the Ronald McDonald House during Christmas and saw it in person. It was a funny night, and not as “romantic” as it looks on TV but a night that we both talked about each year since.
I had to email his other doctors this week and share the terrible news. One of his doctors said they explored every avenue, while at the same time looking out for his emotional well-being. They wished they could do more. I hope this weekend gives us a chance to smile about the life of a little boy who fought a disease that is underfunded and does not play by the rules. His life was so much more than stage 4 neuroblastoma… He was a son, a brother, a friend, a student, a fan, an athlete.
So, as you heat up your oven, or wear your Cookie T-shirt, or come to Blackhawk Hardware this weekend…know that every dollar raised will be given to the top researchers in the country so that THEY can do more for the next child, and so one day this disease will be treated with less guessing and better medicine than the 20 year old drugs available to kids now.
- Amy Christenbury