A lot of you know my friend Sheila–she’s Mary Tyler Mom to many of you. And if you know her, you probably love her. I knew Sheila before we were bloggers. Before the word “blog”. I knew her back in the 1990s, when people actually talked to each other instead of tweeting and texting. When Sheila had her baby Donna, I was a new mom myself. Less than two years later, Donna was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor. And when Donna died at the age of four, it seemed unreal that something like that could happen to my friend.
Two years after Donna’s death, Sheila wrote a series of 31 posts called “Donna’s Cancer Story” for Chicago Now. The series documented Donna’s 31 months of treatment–the emotional roller coasters, the fear and joy and pain, the triumphs and tragedy, and always, always the hope.
Today is Donna Day, a day to honor Donna’s life, to remember her, to remember so many children who have faced this terrible disease, and to help those who are facing it right now. On Donna Day, dozens of bloggers come together to jump-start an important fundraising campaign. Sheila and her husband celebrate Donna through a non-profit they established called Donna’s Good Things. For the third year in a row, Donna’s Good Things is raising money for a head-shaving event in Chicago on Saturday March 29th to support St. Baldrick’s Foundation, the largest private funder of pediatric cancer research in the country.
Throughout Donna’s treatment, Sheila and her husband had a motto: Always chose hope. It continues to be their motto, and contributing to pediatric cancer research is a vitally important way to do that. Consider this reality:
- More US children will die from cancer than any other disease.
- Before the age of 20, 1 in 300 boys and 1 in 333 girls will be diagnosed with cancer.
- Worldwide, a child is diagnosed with cancer every three minutes.
This year, Donna’s Good Things has set a goal of raising $20,000. If you can donate, please visit the Donna’s Good Things Team Page (click on the green button to donate). Any amount will honor Donna and so many other children, and every single cent will make a difference.