Diagnosed with a rare type of childhood cancer in his hip, St. Baldrick’s Ambassador Alan passed away in January 2013 at the age of 5, after fighting cancer for most of his life. Alan’s family has many favorite memories of their spirited boy, but a photo shoot with Santa Claus tops the list. His mother, Judy, recalls that special day.
Congratulations to #BestBaldDad Stuart Smith! This winning photo captured a special moment between father and daughter just after their St. Baldrick’s shave.
by John Paganelli, dad to Jordan
Jordan, I feel your energy on this day — the one they call “Father’s Day.” For me, each year, it is a day spent reflecting on what I have learned and how my life has been enriched from the unique privilege of being your dad.
In my mind, Father’s Day is not about ME…it’s about YOU.
Indeed, it’s about the children in our lives that enlighten and inspire us to peel back the painful layers of burden and reality so as to more clearly expose the somewhat hidden meanings and lessons of life. These lessons often come at a seemingly unfair price — that of sadness, disappointment, and relentless emotional pain. However, this unwelcome “price” quickly shrinks to insignificance as we reflect on the pure joy that comes with the privilege of being the parent of such a remarkable human being.
1. He snuggles with me.
2. He helps me do art.
3. He goes to events with me.
4. He gives me money if I rub his feet.
1. He kisses us every night.
2. He is a great man!
3. He taught us how to fish.
4. He helps us with our homework.
Motherhood is a sweet privilege.
Having a child with cancer is a cruel torture.
My daily reality: Being “that” mother who lost her child to cancer.
Four years ago, during the latter stages of Jordan’s cancer treatments for alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma, our family was invited to be the PGA’s special guests at “The Players” Championship Golf Tournament in Jacksonville, Florida.
That would be my last Mother’s Day with Jordan.
Photo by Anne James Photography
Looking for the perfect St. Patrick’s Day activity or event? What about one that helps kids with cancer?
Then you’re in the right place.
Happy Valentine’s Day Jordan!We cherish the memory of you in our lives. Indeed, we deeply miss the warmth of your beautiful smile that magically brought a sense of purpose and harmony to each and every day. Thoughts of you gently capture and fill our souls as we navigate an empty world without you in it. You were, and continue to be, such a remarkable young man—unique and tender in so many ways. You selflessly taught us more during your struggle and in your death than we could have ever taught you in life; and, your courageous journey continues to serve as a beacon of hope and inspiration for countless others as they walk their own paths of challenge and adversity. The calm and humble strength of your perpetual spirit radiates positive energy and love while showering the world with the light of renewed purpose and resolve.
2012 Ambassador Austin, right, with his older brother, Braedan.
After the funeral service on Christmas Eve, my grandmother went to lie down and my brothers and I ended up in her basement, one of our favorite places in her house (we’d spent many vacations roller skating around and around on that smooth concrete floor). But this time we searched through her neatly stacked boxes until we found some labeled “Christmas.” We quietly lugged everything upstairs and by the time my grandmother awoke from her nap, we had decorated a small fake tree in the living room and hung stockings over the fireplace. Just because our Grampy was gone didn’t mean we had to give up Christmas!
It’s that time of year – the holiday jingles, crackling fires, sweet reminders of love for family and friends, and the official scouting season for the perfect gift.
We also know this time of year is not free from the evil of childhood cancers. Thousands of families around the world will face the holidays with their child fighting cancer. Still others are left with only memories of their child’s past holidays and another 14,888 families in the month of December alone will hear the words “your child has cancer.”
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