The excerpt that follows was adapted from the book Maddie’s Miracles: A Book of Life, an inspirational true story written by Scott Kramer (whose beloved daughter Maddie bravely battled a rare form of cancer at just two-and-a-half years old). For the entire month of September, in honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, 100% of the net proceeds of sale for the book will be donated to cancer charities. The book is available in paperback and Kindle form at Amazon.com and may be purchased by clicking the following link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1980914176/.
To learn more about Maddie’s journey, and her parents’ ongoing efforts to raise awareness for pediatric cancer, please visit their website at http://maddiesmiracles.wordpress.com.
We Are Aware
By Scott Kramer
I am now acutely aware of the absolute crippling characteristics of childhood cancer. I am aware of what it is like for your life to change in the blink of an eye (or worse yet, a collapse on a triage scale). I am aware of how it feels to spend six straight hours pacing without pause on a hospital waiting room floor not knowing if I would ever hear the sweetest voice in the world again. I am aware of the debilitating pain. I am aware of the darkest of fears. I am aware of the helplessness.
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. I can tell you what my awareness would have looked like in September 2016. Prior to that time, I may have noticed when a Chicago White Sox player donned yellow wristbands to honor the occasion. Or perhaps catch a moving Facebook post. That would have been the extent of my awareness, and I would have gone on with my day-to-day routines. Awareness is now the least of my issues. I am all too aware. Every month is cancer awareness month. Every day. Every hour. Every minute.
But I am also aware of resilience. I am aware of the strength of the human spirit. I am aware of the gift of innocence. I am aware of the power of imagination. I am aware of what it means to take every ounce of pain that could be pummeling your pounding heart and instead propelling that pain into positive purpose. I am aware of feeling blessed in a time when you may otherwise be tempted to curse the world. I am aware of all-consuming love. I am aware of hope. I am aware of daily miracles.
And perhaps most importantly in this Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, I am aware that we are not alone. While my daughter Maddie’s experience may be – with limited exceptions – our only glimpse into the world of childhood cancer, this is sadly not a story just for me to tell. We do not have a monopoly on pain. We do not have exclusive rights to hope. The beds at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago are literally overflowing with pediatric cancer patients. And that same scene is playing out across the country.
Each and every one of these families has a story to tell. Their triage moment. Their inspirations. Their blessings. I am aware that we are nothing more than a window into that world. And that we are blessed with a daughter whose unparalleled spirit offers a glimpse into every reason to stay aware of childhood cancer. She is Miracle Maddie. The girl who jokes through the baby pokes. The girl who smiles through the medicine vials. The girl who is dancing while cancering.
And while I know at this point you are now aware of Maddie, and you are aware of our journey, please also be aware of what a precious piece you are in the childhood cancer puzzle. Be aware that you have made – and you can continue to make – a difference. Be aware that you don’t need to suffer in order to support. Be aware that being a supportive friend, co-worker, family member, or even stranger is one of the biggest blessings you can provide a family on this journey. Whether in a text message, a donation, a meal, a phone call, a gift, a card, a visit, a private evening prayer, or even just keeping up with Maddie’s journey, we are aware of what a difference so many of you have made in our lives.
We are aware of you. We are aware of gratitude. And we are aware of the transformative power of remaining aware.
To follow Maddie's story, please visit http://maddiesmiracles.wordpress.com.