A Warrior’s Heart; Local Mom Runs for St. Jude

By Avra Sullivan

From the editor’s desk…

Crystal Miller, a friend and daughter of Patty Knell, owner of Kent Island Jewelry, emailed me and asked if I would share a bio/story of Jacob for her upcoming St. Jude Warrior Dash fund raiser… she wants to compete in honor of Jacob, our son who died from Neuroblastoma. As hard as I tried to write something, I just couldn’t. Remembering all of the children we met and the life-threatening struggles we encountered was more than I could bare today. I decided instead to look up some of my old HOFFMAN 411 columns and share one of them.

I chose the one below because it speaks on so many levels of the daily life of a family whose child has been stricken by cancer. Your life becomes about survival. The little things no longer matter. Every moment is a treasure. The very child who is sick ends up being the one who provides you the strength you need to get through. Children are so pure, and their love is so unconditional. As Mother’s Day approaches, I pray we all learn from our children… every moment with the ones we love is a treasure.

Happy Mother’s Day Crystal and thank you for your kindness.

Until next time,
CMH and mom of three

I’m writing this month’s letter column from Jacob’s isolation/transplant room. We began this ordeal on December 12th and hope to be out some time the first of January.

Right now, we’re passing the time with crafts, video games, basketball, bug movies and puzzles.

When the chemo kicks in, we’ll be passing the time with throw up buckets, baths, antibiotics, special cream and morphine. The transplant chemo will seep through his skin causing a severe sunburn. It will cause painful mouth and throat sores, severe high temperatures and uncontrollable diarrhea.

Why am I sharing this with you…and during the holiday season no less? Jacob is the reason.

This same little boy who is receiving the chemo, makes playdoh flowers for the nurses and tells them it’s for “how hard they work.” He hides stethoscopes from the doctors and makes them name Rescue Heroes before they can examine him. Jacob has shared the same enthusiasm for our 12” artificial hospital tree as he did for our normally full blown Christmas extravaganza. To top it all off, when Jacob opened his gift bag from the hospital Santa, he held up his very first gift and said, “I’m going to give this to my big brother Marcus.” There wasn’t a dry eye in the room.

Most of all, Jacob reminds us of what this season is about: counting blessings, having hope and relishing in the beauty of the moment. For the first time, Christmas extras weren’t important. There was no dinner to plan, tree to trim, or wrapping to do, yet this was the most wonderful Christmas I can remember. The time we shared with each other, family and friends made this holiday such a memorable one – not the bells and whistles.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night,