September is Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month. At PCFLV, we are committed to spreading the GOLD all year long. However, in September, we truly make it our mission. 30 Days, 30 Stories celebrates the children we know and love and the brave battles they fight and have fought, with their families by their sides. In celebrating these beautiful children and their stories, we hope to inspire you to join us in our mission to SPREAD THE GOLD in September and all year long!
My name is Lisa, and it has been a blessing to me to be the Director of Programming for PCFLV since 2013. Although I am not a pediatric cancer mom (by blood), I hope my story will inspire you.
After a career in social work, I became a stay at home mom when my kids were born, my first in 1995.I loved being a Mom and a volunteer in the community. But around 2012, I started to feel those "butterflies in your stomach" feeling like I was meant to do something very life-altering. I felt like I was going to find my "calling".
I anxiously waited to "find myself". It was in 2013 that I learned that there were many local families that have a child with cancer. I never personally knew a child that had cancer. It was something unfamiliar to me until I was introduced to some PCFLV Families.
That day is when it I was swept off my feet. I knew what those longstanding butterflies were leading me to. I was hired to work for PCFLV.
My job is definitely bittersweet. It is hard to explain that beauty can come out of something so ugly and horrible. But this is my favorite description I have seen to be able to explain it: "Children with cancer are like candles in the wind who accept that they are in danger of being extinguished by a gust of wind from nowhere and yet, as they flicker and dance to remain alive, their brilliance challenges the darkness and dazzle those of us who watch their light." ~Author Unknown
Their brilliance dazzles me! The children and families are hopeful yet afraid, and strong yet vulnerable. They amaze me and they inspire me. They appreciate each breath, each moment, each day and make others around them feel the same.
I am proud to be part of the PCFLV team - four employees, a Board of Directors, and a wonderful group of volunteers.
Until there is a cure, I am dedicated to being a voice for this club of people I love.
We say PCFLV is a club you never want to belong to. But starting from the day of diagnosis, through treatment, survivorship and even bereavement, we are here with open arms. We are often asked how many families we help and there are about 225.
I want everyone to know how important fundraising and donations are at the local level so we can provide families with free support, programs, and services. The connections and bonds that are created by pediatric cancer families being together are most valuable. Pediatric cancer affects the whole family. I am so proud that PCFLV includes the whole family and that our staff personally feel like part of this family.
I thank you if you are already involved with PCFLV. I hope to inspire others to make a donation so we can continue to offer programs like monthly arts & crafts kids' programs, date nights, tickets to PPL Arena events, tickets to the Iron Pigs, LV Phantoms and Bethlehem Steel FC Games, hosting a 5-day camp called "Camp Smile," a carnival called "Big Top Carnival" and much more.
My children are now grown and my husband and I are emptynesters. People ask me if I am sad without my kids. While I miss my own children tremendously, I am quick to answer "I have 200 children now".