**UPDATE** If you would like to participate after reading this post, please email firstname.lastname@example.org . The Two Big J's and little e will be out of touch for the next few days, but Tori can provide you with the address to send your cards. Thanks so much everyone! I'm so moved by your support.
I've decided to hold off on Eily's big birthday post until next week, when we are finished with traveling for at least a couple of weeks and I can devote some time to really organizing pics and videos. I promise, the wait will be well worth it!
In the meantime, I wanted to take a couple of minutes to tell you all about the mommy of one of Eily's June birthday buddies, Barrett. Barrett's mom, Kim, was diagnosed with a rare form of cervical cancer while she was pregnant. In fact, if it weren't for her pregnancy, the cancer may have gone unnoticed much longer than it did. Barrett was delivered via emergency c-section at 31 weeks (extremely early for those who aren't aware), in order to get Kim started on treatment for her cancer. Barrett is now a bouncing, active 14 month old, but Kim continues to fight for her life everyday. You can read about her battle in the blog she keeps with her aunt, Fight for Barre.
Recently, Kim was told that the medical center she has been going to for treatments will no longer be treating her because her tumors keep growing. Having lost her job just before her diagnosis, Kim has no medical insurance. Her options are very limited. And perhaps hardest of all, she is raising her amazing little boy on her own. Barrett's father has had very little interaction with his son since his birth, with only minimal visitation on a very irregular basis. I don't know how Kim does it, but she continues to put up a fight. I can't even begin to imagine the amount of courage and faith this young woman must possess to even get out bed each day.
I met Kim through a discussion board on BabyZone.com, an area for moms and moms-to-be to gather and discuss their experiences in parenting. (This is the same place I met Eily's favorite sitter, Casey, and her daughter, Ava.) While those of us in the June 09 Birthday Club have never met Kim in person, we all want to do something to help her to know she is not alone in her struggle. We are planning a card shower for her, and we are inviting anyone who is moved by her story to participate. The plan is to send Kim a box of cards to let her know that there are people out there thinking of her and hoping for her cancer to go into remission. Some of us plan to include gift cards to help her with the day to day costs of raising a little boy on her own while being unable to work. While I'm sure she will appreciate this generosity, I think even the cards alone will bring a big smile to her face.
If you would like to join us in brightening Kim's day and letting her know that even strangers are holding her in their thoughts and prayers, let me know. I can give you the address of Tori, the girl who is organizing the card shower, so you can send her your cards for Kim. Tori will be putting the box together and sending it to Kim on July 15. Thank you in advance for sharing any kind words you have to offer to Kim. You never know how much of an impact your actions can have on someone, even if it's something as simple as sending a card.
I've edited to add a picture of Kim and her sweet son, Barrett:
Thanks again to all of you who have already responded and to those who continue to offer support!