Starting with a wish

Sheila Diane Gammage (October 25, 1974 - January 1, 1993)

Sheila Diane Gammage (October 25, 1974 – January 1, 1993)

The C word. The big C. Specifically, it’s ALL – acute lymphoblastic leukemia – a disease that in 1964 had a survival rate of 4 percent. Today, thanks to research and technological advances, that number has soared to a 94 percent survival rate.

Let me introduce you to Sheila. Sheila was a bright light in an imperfect world. In the tributes written about her following her death, they all mentioned her smile. It was infectious. A couple of months before she passed I was able to visit her. She was still smiling even though the blood vessels in her mouth kept bursting, giving her a red blood-stained smile. She was pretty weak and stayed in bed a lot. But she still smiled. Leukemia took her life but not her spirit.

Here is a quote from her mom that describes Sheila’s fight:

She tried everything humanly possible to stay here on the Earth, to not give up the fight against her greatest adversary–Leukemia.  She fought SO much longer than anyone else would have.  She went through her transplant trying to stay here for us, but when the time came, she was so ready to go onto Heaven, to obtain the reward for being the light she was.

Cancer is an ugly disease. It doesn’t know the difference between a rock star and a soccer mom. It doesn’t discriminate between an 80-year-old or an 8-week-old. It doesn’t care if you’re the richest of the rich or the poorest of the poor.

Today is Sheila’s birth anniversary. This also coincides with the start of the St. Jude Thanks and Giving Campaign. In honor of my cousin, Sheila, I am setting my personal goal at $1500. This will provide one IV chemotherapy treatment for a child.

The mission at St. Jude is simple . . .

The mission of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is to advance cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment. Consistent with the vision of our founder Danny Thomas, no child is denied treatment based on race, religion or a family’s ability to pay.

Pray. Volunteer. Donate. Until a cure is found.

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