May 27, 2016

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Maintenance Day 414: Unless…

“Unless someone like you
Cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing is going to get better.
It’s not.” – The Lorax

We were invited by our friends Julie Stoffel and Nathan Stoffel to visit Woodland Elementary today. Their son Cole Stoffel would be giving a speech inviting students to his children’s run, Cole’s Cancer Crusade. We had no idea what we were in for.

Woodland Elementary is about a mile from our house. From what I saw today (and I may be wrong), they have a day every year dedicated to cancer. When we walked into the gym we were amazed at how many students were there. They were all wearing t-shirts that said “unless…”. The first thing they did was invite several teachers in front of the school to shave their heads! Both men and women sacrificed their hair to show solidarity. One girl cut her hair to donate. She explained to the school that she did it for her brother, who is a cancer survivor. (The tears started!)

Next, Cole, who is in sixth grade, spoke about Cole’s Cancer Crusade. Cole lost his second grade teacher to cancer. It inspired him to do something. He began running 5Ks with his parents. He chose a child to run for for each race. But it wasn’t enough for him. He progressed last summer to running half marathons. It still wasn’t enough. This year he participated in a 50K. After each race, he wanted to do more. So he decided to start his own race – strictly for kids. There will be obstacle courses to represent the obstacles that kids with cancer overcome. He would like to introduce Snowdrop kids to the runners as inspiration. And he is organizing all of this himself! I cannot tell you how proud we are of him! (More information can be found on Facebook Cole’s Cancer Crusade)

Cole introduced Scarlett as well. She was a little shy at first but she warmed up to the attention and held Cole’s hand as they shook the teachers hand and received a standing ovation!

After this, a video was shown of how the children raised money for this event. Some had lemonade stands. Some had bake sales. Some had car washes or raked leaves. It was amazing to see how so many kids came together throughout a whole school year for a cause that was bigger than themselves.

We then went to Richmond Elementary. The principal there was very eager to encourage kids to get signed up for the run. He promised 1000 runners! (And Cole’s eyes got really big!). He then introduced Cole to a little boy who has brain cancer. It was another reminder that cancer is closer than you think. Every school we went to had a child fighter.

We have been so blessed. These past twenty-one months have been the most difficult yet rewarding of our lives. The people around us make us want to be better people. If you are looking for a way to help, please considering signing little ones up for Cole’s Cancer Crusade or donate to the Snowdrop Beard Crop. All of this money goes to research, awareness, and scholarships. We are SO close to a cure. And I know that the people around us care a whole awful lot, so things will get better!

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