Lianne and Doug O’Donnell with Davis and Evelyn at No Label Brewing Company in Houston, a family-friendly brew pub where the O’Donnells often gather with friends who have supported them trough Davis’s cancer journey.
It was Lianne O’Donnell’s mom who first mentioned CaringBridge to Lianne and her husband, Doug, after their infant son, Davis, was diagnosed with eye cancer in April 2017.
Catherine Schomaker had used CaringBridge through breast cancer treatment, finding it an easy way to keep family and friends updated, and to ask for prayers. (Catherine is now five years out from treatment, and is doing great!)
Prayers Needed, Big Time
Prayers were needed, big time, when doctors told Lianne and Doug that their baby had bilateral retinoblsatoma—cancer in both eyes. Davis was just 4 months old; the family felt as heartbroken and overwhelmed as you would imagine.
So in that amazing way that family and friends simply “show up” in the midst of a health crisis, it was Doug’s boss who started Davis’s CaringBridge site.
The O’Donnells live in Fulshear, TX, just west of Houston, and Doug’s company is based in Louisiana. Everyone at the office wanted to know what was going on, and how they could help.
Hundreds of Comments
Lianne said, “It started with Doug’s company, and then people at our parents’ churches and our church and our friends started following Davis’s site. Now there is a huge group of people praying … there are hundreds of comments out there. We even have people in Trinidad and Africa praying for Davis. It’s unbelievable!”
For the prayers and so many forms of support that have come through CaringBridge as Davis continues treatment for retinoblastoma, Lianne and Doug could not be more thankful.
Walking Beside Us
On Davis’s site, Lianne wrote: “I am in awe of this community God has blessed us with. Some of you are walking with us daily, and some I haven’t seen in years. Some are even ‘strangers.’ But your kindness and generosity will never be forgotten.”
Lianne said that since Davis’s diagnosis, she and Doug have built many relationships with doctors, nurses and other families on health journeys. “Being in the hospital, you realize there is this whole other life of people that you never imagined being part of,” she said. “These families are fighting every day.”
In walking beside these families, many have commented on the strength of the O’Donnell family. Lianne is quick to identify its source: “It is all of you. The support you have given us has carried this burden for our family. Doug and I will be forever grateful. We only hope to be able to bless others the way we have been blessed by all of you.”
Start a Personal Fundraising to Help with Expenses
During Davis’s health journey, Lianne and Doug used CaringBridge to update family and friends and the Ways to Help section of his CaringBridge site to activate a GoFundMe campaign for financial support. CaringBridge has partnered with GoFundMe to allow families to easily raise money in times of medical need. You can either start a personal fundraisers directly from your CaringBridge site or link an existing GoFundMe campaign to your CaringBridge site. Let your friends and family know that you need their financial support through journal posts and direct them to contribute by going to the Ways to Help section of your CaringBridge site.