I’m not good with words, and even if I was I can’t identify what I’m feeling now-except for the gratitude. Gratitude that my husband and teenage children would come all this way with me and be in this awkward position of sharing our tragedy with the world when the three of them are such private people. I think they thought this this going bald fundraiser was all mine, but really it’s ours. It’s taken the combined effort of our little family, our extended family, our friends, our friends’ friends, and strangers.

I am grateful that John and Ben and Abby came along with me to Boston. They’ve met a flood of people from various eras and experiences in my life. Those people have taken pictures of Ben and Abby and John, they’ve hugged and shook hands, and probably looked at them with sad eyes, and I know it’s been overwhelming and uncomfortable.

And let’s talk about those people who came to support us yesterday (or the folks who couldn’t come but donated to St. Baldrick’s, and the ones who sent messages of love, or those who are holding down the fort back home by caring for our pets, and taking in our mail). We were carried along yesterday by our extended family who traveled from the Albany area and Alexandria, VA to Boston to love on us, my high school friends from Connecticut, Maine, and the Boston area, youth group and camp friends drove from as close as Medfield, and flew from as far as Chicago.

I am flabbergasted that these people are still with us, physically and emotionally. It’s not just donations that prove they are still with us. Although that evidence is irrefutable to the tune of over $14,000. They didn’t turn and run when Sam was diagnosed. They didn’t shut down when Sam died. 9 months later they are still here with us and they say his name and share their stories of Sam. Even if they’ve never met him, they have stories of their kids playing a game because Sam would have liked it, or memories of photographs I posted.

What’s huge to me is that many of them have taken this cause on as their own. Their perspective on childhood cancer has been altered. They no longer think of it as a rare but highly curable (90% a sign on the T read) childhood disease. Sam’s illness and death touched them in such a way that they now feel compelled to tell his story to their friends and family. Yes, they shared my 46 Mommas fundraising link on Facebook and retweeted my tweets, but they’ve also held fundraisers at work, and their kids have donated birthday money. We’ve broadened the circle of awareness, and as we increase our reach, we raise raise more money, and ultimately I hope that we become impossible to ignore.

I am also grateful for my bald head. It may not be evident if you only know me through the internet, but I am a bit of a quiet person. It is my hope that my shocking appearance (along with the button-“Ask me why I’m bald.”) will prompt people to start a conversation with me (I’m quiet, but once I get started talking, I think my friends will attest, I’m a talker). It is also my hope that if people are simply staring at my bald head that I will have the courage to ask them, “Are you wondering why I’m bald?”

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