Help us spread HOPE!

We’ve just been hanging around Charlotte, so we decided to set some goals and we need your help!!!
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In October of last year, after 3 years of fighting an ‘inoperable’ liver tumor, my son Cole’s cancer was progressing unchecked. Every experimental drug combination had failed to slow the tumor’s growth. His liver was beginning to show the signs of organ failure as a result of the now 5 cm tumor inside it. But we have always held on to HOPE. In late October we found that resection could be possible by a very talented specialized surgeon in Charlotte, North Carolina. On 11/25, half of Cole’s liver was removed, along with the tumor. We’ve been in Charlotte for all but 1 week since before then. Cole has been hospitalized with some complications from this life saving surgery, but we know he is on the road to recovery and for the first time in 3 years he is cancer free. We have so much to be thankful for, because in the world of childhood cancer, we are the LUCKY ones.

In 2013 we witnessed the childhood cancer movement growing and spreading, not only through the effort of many dedicated parents and practitioners, but through the voices of children standing up and speaking out against the disparities that exist for kids facing cancer. Through the Truth365 film, we met Talia Castellano, Gavin Rupp and many other children who were young advocates for awareness of Childhood Cancer. Through the bravery of these children, a GOLDEN movement of awareness is growing. But like every year, every day, we watched many brave children’s lives cut short from childhood cancer. Many of the courageous children that the documentary introduced us to have died.

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In December 2012, a little girl named Gabriella Miller was diagnosed with an inoperable pediatric brain tumor. Gabriella, not even 10 years old, learned the Make A Wish foundation would grant her a wish to see Paris. To give back, she began a campaign to raise money for Make A Wish through the Macy’s One Million Letters to Santa campaign. Gabriella collected letters to Santa with a goal of 10,000 letters, and ended up raising more than $275,000 for Make A Wish (ultimately paying for her own and many other wishes!).

Gabriella did this in just her first month facing cancer. In the months following, she did so much more, becoming a speaker, writer, and advocate for childhood cancer. But just 11 months after hearing their beautiful daughter had an inoperable brain tumor, Gabriella passed away.

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Gabriella not only delighted and inspired us, she challenged us to do MORE. Her words, “TALK is BULLSHIT, we need actions” were heard even in the halls of Congress. Today Congress is working to allocate more funding to pediatric medical research as a result of her advocacy.

In honor of Gabriella’s upcoming 11th birthday, the Smashing Walnuts foundation established by her family will be holding the inaugural Cracking the Cure Gala. We are taking advantage of being on this side of the country to make a trip to Leesburg, Virginia to support this awesome organization and meet Gabriella’s amazing parents and the incredible community that supported her.

Cole and I decided that we want to go and we don’t want to go empty handed! Will you help us make a GOLD level donation to Smashing Walnuts???

If EVERYONE on Cole’s Team just gave Cole a $HIGH FIVE$ for all his hard work in 2013, by donating $5 toward this fundraiser, you’ll be able to see his smiling face presenting a check to Gabriella’s family in her honor! Let’s do this COLE’S TEAM! We came up with this idea exactly 22 days from the event, which some might think sounds impossible, but we don’t believe in impossible! Cole said that means “it’s meant to be”! Prove him right! We needed something to look forward to and we know that Cole’s Team can help us smash this goal!

There’s 3 ways to donate!

1. Give $5 today online at http://www.hopealwaysintiative.myevent.com/!

2. Mail a check payable to Smashing Walnuts (ensuring your tax deductible receipt of donation) to: Hope Always Initiative, 820 South Main Street, Suite 203, St. Charles, MO 63301

3. OR you can donate directly on Smashing Walnuts website! Just mention that you’re part of Cole’s Team or the HOPE ALWAYS INITIATIVE project!

This project will be the first of many HOPE ALWAYS INITIATIVES to support childhood cancer awareness and funding for much needed research. We have a BIG dream of giving $5000 to Smashing Walnuts on January 25. Any funds raised above $5000 will be used toward a future HOPE ALWAYS INITIATIVE project. We hope you will join us today, in making HOPE a reality for more children faced with cancer!

Thank you in advance for your support and HOPE always!

Laura & Cole

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