Donna Day 2016 – Take all my Money, St. Baldricks!

Today is Donna Day.  This year is the 5th year I’ve written about sweet Donna and her mama.  My previous posts are here,  here and here.  I really loved those posts.  I love them as much today as I did when I wrote them. But it feels like we keep repeating ourselves.  Let’s work to stop that.

I know a lot of you don’t like to read these posts because it’s too sad, but really, these kids weren’t sad.  They were pretty damn happy as kids largely are.  They could teach us a thing or two about joy.

We all share about Donna and her mama today because WE NEED MONEY.  We need money for Pediatric Cancer research and a cure.  We need education and passion for ending this nightmare.

I share these kids with you because they could be any one of our own kids. These are all our kids.

The first St. Baldrick’s event I attended in 2012 was incredible.  They all are.  But this one had a flashmob dance party organized to Baby You’re a Firework.  And I’ve never seen such joy and gratitude and enthusiasm in my life.  For one little girl in particular.  Donna.  I’ve never heard that song since without smiling through tears.

Sheila is Donna’s mama and my friend.  I don’t think of sadness when I think of Sheila.  I think of Sheila and Jeremy and the two boys they joyfully parent now along with Donna.  I always think of Donna because they make sure she’s always around. I’ve written quite a bit about Donna and her mama and the impact they’ve had on my life so look around at all the links highlighted here a bit, won’t you?

I really loved that my girl got to wear so many of sweet Donna’s clothes. Sheila brought us a bunch.  But at a point, there are no more clothes to grow into.  Because there is no more Donna.

And that sucks.  There is no way around it, that sucks.

This is Donna.


Baby you’re a firework.

Donna was a vibrant, curious, smart, funny, kind little girl who was taken way too soon.

But we keep talking about her always.  And all these other kids.  WE KEEP TALKING ABOUT THEM BECAUSE IT IS IMPORTANT.

I know way too many sick kids.  I know way too many families with kids who aren’t here any longer.  That is not ok.  These are KIDS.  These are kids just like yours and mine.  It’s an entirely helpless feeling when someone you know gets sick. Let alone a tiny little kid or baby.  A BABY.  All these babies.  We can help in several ways.  Links at the bottom of this post.

My friend Kitty lost her Aidan to Pediatric Cancer.


This is Adorable Aidan.I know all about Kitty and her adorable, sweet, funny boy now.  I don’t think of sadness when I think of Kitty.  I think of someone working tirelessly to find a cure.  I think of someone sharing love and joy and laughter and I’m just so grateful she’s in my life.  I learn about joy through sadness every day with Kitty.  We have Aidan’s playset out in our backyard!  We will keep honoring them by sliding and having fun.  You can read Aidan’s story here.  

Last year I introduced you to our friend Eddie here.  Our friends Christa and CW were in the thick of it with Eddie last year at this time.  He had just turned one and he was very very sick.


This is Eddie.  He’s not with us anymore smiling that smile.  But we all remember and think of that smile every single day.  The turn out and impact of Eddie’s memorial service was truly remarkable.  So much love.  I think of you, Christa and CW and Eddie, every. single. day.  So many of us in our community in Chicago were touched so deeply by this family and all they’ve gone through with grace and dignity and just love.

I always think of Eddie’s mama saying “love hard”.   And I do.  I DO LOVE HARD.  Because I think of you and that is quite an impact to have left with so many of us.   You’ve helped us to love hard and to pass it on.

Christa and CW have been through more than anybody should ever have to endure in one lifetime.  It’s not my story to tell, so I won’t, but now this.  FUCK YOU CANCER.   Their story is here.  Please take the time to read and love hard.


Here’s the thing.  These are healthy kids, just like yours and mine until one day they aren’t.  And then everything changes in a heartbeat.  When people say to me, your kids are growing up so fast!  Keep them babies!  First of all, time is perfect. They are growing exactly as they should be and we appreciate every moment.  Also, NO.  NO NO NO.  We want healthy growing kids, always.  For everyone.  That’s why this is so important.


My kids will know all about some kids who aren’t with us any longer. May we never know sickness, may we always do our best to help.

I’d never known what true strength of character looks until I met and read about and spent time with these families.  They buck up because they have to.  BUT WHY DO THEY HAVE TO?

Today is Donna Day.  This year is the 5th year I’ve written about sweet Donna and her mama.  My previous posts are herehere and here.  I really loved those posts.  I love them as much today as I did when I wrote them.  But it feels like we keep repeating ourselves.  Let’s work to stop that so we don’t have to keep repeating ourselves.

The thing is, the years keep passing yet sweet Donna’s face, Adian’s face, Eddie’s face remain the same.  SAY THEIR NAMES.  Let’s keep working hard to keep progressing in finding a cure.  In making sure that so many kids faces aren’t frozen in time.  Cut way too short.  Take all my money, St. Baldricks!


We love you Donna, oh yes we do.  We love you Donna, and we’ll be true.  When you’re not near us, we’re blue.  Oh Donna we love you.


When I hear that Firework song now, and we hear it a lot because DANCE PARTIES WITH THREE YEAR OLDS, I cry.  I weep for Donna and her family and all the other lost kids who did nothing but want to be here with us.  I weep watching my own little kids dancing with joy – oblivious to Cancer – oblivious to pain.  May it stay that way.  You never ever think it could happen to you.  Well, neither did any of these other families.  Let’s give of ourselves and spread the word. Give money, give education, give compassion, give the gift of grace to feel all the feelings.

Prayers are nice.  Money and action is better.



Here is a link with all kinds of information about Childhood Cancer, specifically.

Here is a link about why we need funding and organizations like St. Baldricks.

Here is the link to Donna’s Cancer Story.

Here is the main link to the St. Baldrick’s event at Candlelite on March 19th honoring Donna and so many others.  You can donate here!  Or shave your head?  Or go to the event and eat and drink for a good cause!

PASS IT ON!  Share share share!


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