“Sometimes when you interact with the family, they will want to tell you their story. You think you’re just having a casual conversation with ordinary people---asking them where they’re from, how long they’ve been there---and at the very end, several times I’ve had people just break down and say, ‘Thank you so much. God bless you for this.’ I think, ‘What did I do?’ It seems so insignificant just to listen, but it touches them in a special way. When that happened for the first time, within the first month I was there, I realized this is what I wanted to continue doing.
“I am so inspired by the strength and courage of all these people. I have absolutely no room to complain about anything. I never imagined I would meet parents whose first child, just three months old, had already been diagnosed with cancer. How do get cancer when you’re three months old? One mother told me how she was so full of guilt when her child was diagnosed. She said to the doctor, ‘Is it my fault? I tried to eat healthy meals, I had check-ups on a regular basis. There was no hint that there was a problem, and now my baby has cancer.’ Her heart was just aching. She cried and cried and felt so guilty. Her child is in remission now, and she said that this whole ordeal has brought the family closer. She talked about her husband stepping up to take care of the house, do the laundry, shopping, everything. She said, ‘I never knew he had it in him, but we're pulling together and our relationship is better than it ever has been.’ And I’m thinking, Wow, because it can really take a toll and tear the best of marriages apart. It can go either way.
“It’s so wonderful when a child's treatment is completed and you see extended family coming in carrying balloons and wearing matching T-shirts with the child’s name on them. They parade through the cafeteria, and it’s like a family, everyone high-fiving and cheering that child on with ‘No Mo’ Chemo! No Mo’ Chemo!’ Isn’t that a crazy thing to shout? But that’s what you do.”