I was fortunate to attend the 2nd Annual Quiet Heroes Luncheon in Atlanta yesterday, honoring the mothers (and some fathers, too) of children with cancer, and serving as a fundraiser for two worthwhile organizations, CURE Childhood Cancer and CureSearch. And much like I looked around earlier this week at other 40-yr olds, and thought, “Well, sure, THAT person is a grown up, but I’m not” I found myself looking around the room yesterday at the luncheon, gazing at the other pediatric cancer moms I’ve gotten to know these past three years, thinking to myself, “Well, sure, they are heroes, but I’m not!”
I had a wonderful time, re-connecting with women I hadn’t seen in a while, visiting with and meeting some of the dozens and dozens of volunteers who worked so hard to make this event possible, enjoying a wonderful lunch, silent auction, and listening to speakers that I enjoyed thoroughly. My mom is here visiting, so I was able to take her as my guest, and it was a lovely girls’ day out. Getting dressed up, fancy desserts, and waiters who pour your salad dressing from a silver gravy bowl with a cloth napkin draped over their arm ….. sure beats taking my kids for a Happy Meal at McDonalds!
The Quiet Heroes tribute is the brainchild of Chris Glavine, wife of professional baseball player Tom Glavine, and Kristin Connor, executive director of CURE Childhood Cancer --- more importantly, Kristin is a personal friend of mine. MOST importantly, she is mom to Brandon, a neuroblastoma survivor, and his brother Ryan.
I could go on and on about how inspiring this luncheon is for cancer moms, and how connected I feel to the other women who come from all over the state --and the country -- for this event. In addition, it raised over $100,000 for pediatric cancer research last year, and sold out again this year, hopefully raising even more. I know Kristin would say it’s not about the money, but I’m sure every mom there, in addition to appreciating the work and effort that went into the event, also appreciates anything that will further the cause of finding and funding a cure. So a big thank you to the hundreds of people and businesses who donated silent auction items, and sponsored the event. Most of all, thank you to Chris and Kristin for all their hard work.
The keynote speaker for the day was Allison Clarke, Executive Director and Founder of Flashes of Hope, and mom to Quinn, a rhabdomyosarcoma survivor. Flashes of Hope is an amazing organization and I hope Allison and all her directors, photographers, makeup artists, and volunteers know how very grateful we are for their work. The photo-quad of pictures of Kendrie and I on this site was taken by Flashes of Hope at Scottish Rite. They have photo shoots in cancer clinics all over the country and you can visit their website to see if they’re coming to your clinic anytime soon. You can also visit their website to learn more about this fabulous organization and how you can help by making a donation (all photos are provided to families free of charge). I guarantee if you have pictures taken of you and your child, or even just your child, you will have a fun time, and will receive beautiful keepsakes to treasure always. I’m still simply glad that on the day Flashes of Hope was at **our** clinic, I had actually gotten up that morning and “dressed” before going out. I’ve shown up at the clinic in sweat pants, with no make up and my hair in a pony tail, more times than I can count!
But hands down, the best part of the day was spending time with the moms I’ve gotten to know. It’s odd, that I could feel such a connection to women that I only see once or twice a year. These are ladies that I would never have met otherwise, and we don’t live near enough to one another to visit on a regular basis, yet when I talk about them, it’s always, “My friend this” and “My friend that”. I truly consider these women friends and care about what happens to their kids, just like I know they care about Kendrie. It’s a warped, demented little sorority, but I’m so grateful to be a part of it.