One of the strongest memories that I have of the past year is having to sit down and tell a sweet 4 year old little boy and a too-smart 7 year old boy that “Mommy has Cancer.”  There are many similar memories: going to chemo, my hair falling out, spending my boys’ entire summer vacation sick from chemo, spending Christmas raw from radiation. But now, there are going to be new memories.  The ‘I Will Right Now’ grant has changed our life for the better and we have yet to enjoy the trip that they have gifted us. It has given us something to look forward to.

As a young mom who has spent the majority of the past year in various stages of chemo, radiation, and surgery for Breast Cancer, knowing that the next year of my life was going to be much of the same was not exactly comforting.   I hoped that the end of chemo and radiation meant the end of cancer. But, the new endocrine therapy that I’m on right now leaves me nauseous and exhausted. I’m grateful that chemo is over. I’m grateful that the skin on my chest is starting to heal and slowly looking more like skin again instead of radiated molten lava.  But knowing that I have another 10 months of at least four more surgeries with long recoveries is daunting. It means that my 5 year old will have more memories of Mommy lying on the couch. It means that my 8 year old, who has Autism and needs Mommy to soothe his many fears, must settle for Daddy because “Mommy is sleeping.”  It means that I will continue to feel like an outsider on my own life, listening from beneath the covers of a dark room, wishing that I could intervene on sibling squabbles, wondering if this is what life would be like without me.

But before the first of my four surgeries this year, we will travel to Disney World for 3 magical days.  Cancer will still be with us. I have one breast (soon to be none), a scar from mid chest to underarm, no eyelashes, and a groovy buzz cut to remind me.  But cancer will not be the dominant force in our lives. Magic will. Excitement will. Mickey and Star Wars and Fireworks will. My children will get to be the little boys that they are.  We will all get to lose ourselves in the moment. And the fact that we have this to look forward to right now - even with a daunting year of surgeries ahead of us - is such a beautiful thing.  It means that my children have something positive to look forward to. It means that although this next year will undoubtedly be filled with more pain and worry and sadness than two little boys should ever have to face - it will also be the year of Disney, of magical family time, of two little boys getting to be  TWO LITTLE BOYS. I cannot express how grateful we are to have this opportunity. Instead of asking me when my next surgery is, my boys will get to ask us when our disney trip is. And that, is already so immensely magical.

just wanted to send a big THANK YOU to you and anyone involved in your foundation.  We kept Chris' motto of "I will right now" in mind throughout our time at Disney, and I think we succeeded in fulfilling his legacy of living life to the fullest.  We filled our days and nights with so much fun and so many wonderful memories. I haven't seen our boys smile that much in a very long time. Thank you, thank you, thank you.