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I'm not a stranger to loss.  I attended funerals in high school and felt my extended family grow smaller with time.  But the loss of Hunter this week is a different loss than I've ever experienced.  He was three & a half and fought cancer for two and half years of his short, short life.  I'm not a parent but it doesn't take much imagination to begin to understand the darkness that Hunter's family is experiencing.  This morning before our run, we took time to honor Hunter and one of our coaches read the following passage aloud to the whole team, which is from the blog that Hunter's family kept of their journey:

With all of that said - we are continuing to love on Hunter like never before. We are drowning him in kisses and holding him and squeezing him tight every single second we get. I tickle and smooch his tiny, little toes constantly. I look him deep into his eyes and make sure that he understands when I tell him that mom and dad love him so deeply and that we will ALWAYS be with him, loving him, cherishing him and applauding his amazing and courageous efforts.....wherever he is. We try to get him to smile as many times as we possibly can and are constantly figuring out ways to make his time left the most enjoyable and the most memorable......for all of us.

I guess I should take back the fact that I no longer believe in miracles. The fact that we had Hunter in our life for as long as we did was a miracle in itself. Zen has said several times and I definitely agree........We wouldn't take our time with Hunter back. He has made us better people, he has shown us love that is so deep and so fulfilling and so completely rewarding. He's made us stronger individuals and he's brought immeasurable joy into our lives. Joy that we would have never experienced without him. He has truly made our lives worth living. Zen has also reminded me that this time that we have left with him is a gift. A beautiful, beautiful gift. We know that the end is near and we now get to cherish him with every ounce of our souls.

To counter the heartbreak, we got to hear from a Dad who has a very different story.  His son Evan was celebrating his 9th birthday.  Evan was diagnosed with AAL at age three and is now a survivor.  The look on the Dad's face, describing how he would have done anything, anything to trade places with his sick kid at the time and how joyous a birthday is now was priceless. 

With your support, we hope that there will only be stories like Evan's.  So thank you for helping Karly and I try to make a little difference.

Our team now has the picture below pinned to our jerseys for training of Hunter.  His smile is one of the toughest I've ever seen.  Please join me in sending love and prayers to Hunter's family.
7/24/2012 06:48:45 pm

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