Things are going as well as expected though. We all miss Mason terribly, but he is a big topic of conversation on a daily basis and drives our entirely family to things and strive for things we would never had imagined. If you are fortunate enough to NOT know what it's like to sit in a hospital room with your child who is fighting some illness, thank the good lord above now. For those of you who have had to endure this, whether it were cancer, pneumonia, a tonsillectomy, meningitis, whatever, then you will completely relate to our latest mission. Last year, my friend Charity came up with a wonderful idea to collect toys and deliver them to the children at UVA who would be spending their holiday season inpatient. Her initial thought was to give back to the community since so many had supported us through our journey and take my mind off of the fact that I was getting ready to face my first Christmas without my son. So, on December 20th last year, Mason's 6 month angelversary we had collected enough toys to provide the children and their siblings with several toys each. It was so rewarding to see the smiles on the kids faces, the gratitude from their parents and to know that we were contributing to a great cause. That was when the social worker had brought down a very special little girl named Sadie. She was a neuroblastoma victim, age 9 and had the most contagious smile and loving heart. The first thing she said to me when I told her she could pick out a toy was "what can I choose for my brother".. She truly loved her brother. I've kept up with Sadie over the past year, she was going to help distribute toys to her fellow victims in the hospital this year, but she lost her battle October 24th. My heart broke when I spoke to her father Rob that day, but I knew that just like me and so many other of my friends who went through this, he would be a much wiser, stronger person from the experience. I spoke to him the other night and he is holding his own. His son Trenton told him "daddy, at least Sadie can walk now". How heartbreaking is it to know that a child like Trenton is feeling grateful his sister can walk again now that she's passed on because the disease was so hard on her. Please say a big prayer for this family as they continue on with their lives, face the upcoming holiday's and try to find the good in this terrible loss in the upcoming months and years. It's not easy to carry on, it's not easy to not ask why me, but somehow people do survive it. I personally have to do good for others to help heal, I have to feel like making a difference for others is my calling and that's what I'm focusing on. I know my baby boy was sent to me for a reason and my family and I have a big calling in life. We are definitely finding out little by little each day what that calling is. Also, prayer for a special little boy whom is fighting viral meningitis right now and very dear to my heart. Christopher Toman (aka, one of the Tomanators) who supports childhood cancer, shaves his head every year to raise awareness and funding for childhood cancer is now battling an illness of his own. I know whole heartedly that he will make a complete recovery, but please pray for his comfort and strength during this time. We love you Christopher.. Last but not least, on August 31st I lost a very dear friend of mine of over 23 years. Crystal Lynn Clark (aka, Crystal Lynn Morris) was only 36 when her father found her lifeless body in her home that day. Crystal and I were best friends through middle school, we have shared so many memories, laughs, cries, giggles, sleepless nights, fun times and losses together. She was always there for Mason, she was the one who was watching him prior to his diagnoses of stage IV neuroblastoma at age 5. She would call me concerned at work to tell me the new symptoms going on with Mason and the new pain he was experiencing. She was truly an angel on earth and loved with every fiber of her body. She saw me through so many tough times and never left my side. Logan is 8 years old, Crystal's son she leaves behind, also her husband Mike is who like a brother to me and my siblings. I ask that you pray for her family and friends as we continue this journey in life without her contagious laugh, witty and comical jokes and lively personality. She was family to us, a sister, her parents are my second parents. I have spent a lot of time with her parents and sister since the tragedy and hope that in some way I have helped them through, but they have helped me more than they could every imagine. Together we will get through the toughest losses of our lives and become better people from them. I know that Crystal is with her Grandmother's, her Grandfather and Mason watching over all their loved ones. What a reunion that must have been seeing her join them. We just miss her dearly here on earth and I know her husband and son are suffering greatly without her physical presence as well. Fly high my angel, take care of our boy Mason up there. I love you so much and miss you more everyday..
Well, once again we decided to coordinate a toy drive in Mason's honor and called it Mason's Toy Box. There are several ways you can help us with the toy drive. Right now, we have about 14 drop off locations, ranging from Richmond, VA to Charlottesville, VA to Va Beach. I am sure there will be plenty of toys to distribute to both MCV hospital and UVA hospital, but I'd love to reach out to the parents of these children as well. If you have a facebook, please go like the community page at http://www.facebook.com/MasonsToyBox and share it as well with your friends, requesting that they like it and share it too. So far, we have over 300 likes and NBC 29 news has contacted me about covering the story to help promote the event. We also have a fundraising event at James River Brewery on Monday Dec. 3rd from 5pm-9pm where all proceeds will be donated in Mason's honor to the toy drive. With the proceeds we plan to purchase gift albums for the mom's and dad's of these patients. The gift album items can be seen through the links below.
For the moms, a "just for her" album: https://www.myribbongift.com/Product/ProductCarousel?productID=3475
And check out "Guy Gear" for the dads: https://www.myribbongift.com/Product/ProductCarousel?productID=749210
to help us with the purchase and funding of these gift albums, please make your donation through a paypal account under firstname.lastname@example.org and help spread the word.
There is also another fundraiser to collect gifts this Sat in Petersburg VA. A special thanks to the band No Last Names who will be performing at Longstreets Deli in Petersburg, November 17th from 930pm-1am and ask that in lieu of a coverage charge, you bring an upwrapped gift instead for a sick child. Please visit their event page on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/events/245991445528579/
We are so grateful for everyone who supports our cause to help sick children and find a cure for childhood cancer each and everyday. Without your support and generosity, there would be no difference in these children's lives. Thank you so much from the bottom of our hearts.
Receiving Donations of new, unwrapped toys 'til December 19th at these great locations:
James River Brewing - Chris Kyle
561 Valley St. Scottsville, VA
Rehab Health Care - Jessica Barbour
1717 Allied St. Charlottesville, VA
Spectacle Shop - John Bright
1047 Berkmar Cr. Charlottesville, VA
Greene Xtreme Cheer and Tumbling - Sarah Amburgey
13307 Spotswood Trail unit 9 Ruckersville, VA
Mud Dauber Pottery - Suzanne Crane
4225 Earlysville Road
Salon Debonair - Deborah Lee
1814 Patterson Ave. Richmond, VA
Fahrenheit IT - Mian Fouche - Prevett
4470 Cox Rd. suit 275 Glen Allen, VA
The Rack - Robert Dennis
9056 W. Broad st
Richmond, VA 23294
Haley Toyota Certified Center
8301 Midlothian Turnpike
Richmond, Va 23235
4401 Dominion Boulevard. 2nd Floor
Mon-Friday 8:30am – 5:30pm.
Glen Allen, VA 23060
13923 Hull St Rd
Midlothian, VA 23112
Michael and Son
5845 north Hampton blvd Va beach,Va23455
(757) 217-6764 Mike Kiser
302 North Sycamore St.
Petersburg, Va 23803
City Dogs in the Fan
1309 W. Main St
Richmond, VA 23220
If you would like to contribute a parent care package or financial contribution, please call Mason's Toy Box coordinators.
Charlottesville: (434) 960-0950 Richmond: (804) 712-0352