Excitement is in the air at Candlelighters! From our board and staff, to our amazing volunteers and community partners, we eagerly greet the promise of this new year.
I feel so honored to step into the role of board president at this time. As an organization, Candlelighters has been through many changes over the past three years. Like you, COVID-19 challenged us to think and act differently. It gave us the opportunity to re-assess what mattered most, to take time to listen and learn, and to plan for a new normal.
In some ways this felt familiar to me. Our oldest daughter, Sonya, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma the week after her sophomore year of high school. Through four and a half years of multiple recurrences and until the day she passed, Sonya demonstrated such grit, grace, and determination that I will forever be in awe. I am grateful we had the time – while certainly never enough – to celebrate birthdays and graduations and make memories to last a lifetime.
What I learned is the journey from diagnosis to survivorship or bereavement is a long and difficult one, filled with unexpected challenges and opportunities. And it can also be a beautiful, life affirming, and uplifting voyage – one that demonstrates over and over again the amazing resourcefulness and resilience of children and families whose lives are forever changed by cancer.
Perhaps the most important lesson has been the reminder that what really matters is family. Thank you for being part of the Candlelighters family. We can’t wait to see you this year!