Black_and_white_vs I use this forum to talk about the things that are in my heart and on my mind.  This time of year, my thoughts go to my little friend Jeffrey who died too soon.  September 25, 2003…almost 3 years ago, Jeffrey lost his battle with Acute Mylegenous Leukemia.  For those of you who don’t know this story, Jeffrey is the little brother of my girls’ best friends.  Jeffrey’s biggest sister started middle school this year with my “big” girl…his youngest big sister, who twice gave her bone marrow to try to save him, started 5th grade with my “baby” girl.  We had the privilege of walking with Jeffrey’s family during the last 2 years of his life and the honor of being their friend in the sad times that followed his death.  The Virosteks are our heroes; to get a sense of their faith and bravery, I would refer you to these words written by Jeffrey’s mom from their online journal where they have shared and continue to share their journey:

I had the opportunity to meet up with one of my dear friends from high school. We had not seen each other in a long while and she was unaware of our loss. Through her tears, she said, you are doing so well but I am sure that you have been through Hell and back. It struck me that we are doing well but a lot of that has to do with how we CHOSE to handle things. It was a conscience decision to get up each morning and to find the beauty of each day, it was our choice to shield our pain and try to make a difference, it is our choice to smile at the memories of Jeffrey and speak of him openly and speak of him often. We choose to live and love and not let the grief take us down to our knees. Trust me, it flattens us at times but we have learned to get up, brush ourselves off and move forward. Thank you, God!!Jvwish

This time of year brings both sadness and joy for the Virostek family and those of us who love them.  On Thursday of this week, Jeffrey’s little brother will celebrate his first birthday…4 days later, the family will have to get through the 3rd anniversary of Jeffrey’s death.  Joy among the tears…read what I wrote last year on the day that Luke was born.  I can’t believe it has already been a year!  Luke is walking now and his smile reminds me of his big brother.  This picture is of Jeffrey on his 4th birthday; it is hard to believe that he would be 7 now…

Part of what the Virosteks have done to bring some meaning to the hole in their hearts is to fight hard to raise money to find a cure for this disease.  We have walked with them for several years in Light the Night, a fundraising effort to find a cure for blood cancers.  We plan to walk with them again this year.  If you struggle, like we did, to find a place of meaning to spend your charity dollars, would you consider sponsoring us in our walk to raise money for a cure for this disease?  You can go directly to my Light the Night fundraising page to make a contribution.