Our holiday misery has been buffered this year by several blessings.

  • My most recent Touch-A-Truck meetings have been joined by more new faces!
  • A man emailed us last month with a request to allow him to give part of the proceeds from a ProAm golf tournament that he is producing to MROF.
  • A friend told me her daughters were comparing throw-up stories and Max was prominently featured in the discussion (yes - we smile about his kind of stuff).
  • A high school girl in Pasadena phoned to ask if it would be alright if she hosted a fundraiser at her school to benefit MROF.
  • Last weekend one of the boys in our church family (Z-Dog) handed us an envelope with a note inside that said:
Dear Mikulak's,
I'm giving $15 to you for Max's Ring of Fire to help you prevent other kids from getting cancer and to support your events. Please take this money as an act of kindness from me to you.

  • Lisa Sturt emailed this:
Last night I was at an event sitting next to a teacher who recently retired. She either worked at SP or Carmel Creek, I'm not sure which. I was relieved that we had little name plates to jolt my horrific memory as to her name. But she has a keen memory! After the usual hi-how-are-you's, she wanted to know how Max's family is doing. Know that Max and you are thought of even by people you don't know (and people whose names I can't remember!). We talked a bit about Max and soon she had tears. He was pretty incredible! To think of the impact he has on people to this day...people he never even saw. He was/is a gift!
Thank you, thank you, thank you, for your kind thoughts and letting us know that you think about our boy, too. From Halloween to New Years, it's more of a struggle to be without one of our kids and it means the world to know he's not forgotten, but remembered fondly and frequently.

I took this from an angel parents' facebook post:
If you know someone who has lost a child, and you're afraid to mention the child because you think you might make them sad by reminding them that they died - you're not reminding them. They didn't forget they died. What you're reminding them of is that you remembered that the child lived, and that is a great gift.


Childhood Cancer Holiday Shopping Guide

People Against Childhood Cancer (PAC2) is a great organization. Started by Bob Piniewski shortly after his son AJ passed away from Burkitt's lymphoma on January 5, 2008, PAC2's purpose is simple, but necessary: One Voice United Against Childhood Cancer.

Unfortunately, PAC2 is also currently a website that requires registration. So rather than just linking everyone to a site and expecting you to register in order to see what the heck I'm talking about, I've posted the Third Annual PAC2 Holiday Shopping Guide below. Please take a look, and either forward this page or share via Facebook and Twitter with your friends. Maybe someday childhood cancer can enjoy the same level of outrageous commercial attention that pink ribbon gets.

Oh, and don't forget to order your holiday cards featuring Max's artwork.

2010 PAC2 Holiday Shopping Guide

In the spirit of collaboration amongst childhood cancer charities - we've created the Third Annual PAC2 Holiday Shopping Guide. What better time than the Holiday Season to work together to benefit the kids?  The list below highlights gift-giving opportunities from some great organizations - all benefiting childhood cancer. We apologize in advance for those not listed (please contact us if you want to be added!). If you don't find what you need here (you are pretty picky!), maybe one of the organizations here or here catch your eye.   All the pictures are active links to the cause referenced below (or so we hope). Happy Holidays!

The CureSearch Holiday Gift shop offers a wide variety of items including artwork from children touched by cancer and their siblings to raise awareness and funds for childhood cancer research.  You can buy a tie, a Reach the Day - Gold Ribbon key chain, or order your Holiday Cards all in benefit of CureSearch and COG!

From our good friends at Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation: Do YOU have YOUR ALSF Inaugural Holiday Ornament ordered yet???  Or maybe that snow got you cold?  Well then pick up a ALSF Hooded Sweatshirt silly!  Or, for the guy that's got everything: A Sponsorship to the 2011 Lemon Ball.

I like the Irish. They have great beer.  But what to drink it in and STILL benefit childhood cancer??  Obviously a St. Baldrick's Stein.  That's just one example of the great gifts available at the St. Baldrick's Gift Shop or Store.

The Holidays are a time of peace and love and what better way to share it than The Rally Foundation Peace, Love and Rally T-shirts or Rally Holiday Cards?

All kids love soccer balls from the Andrew McDonough B+ (Be Positive) Foundation!  And mom and dad need the B+ Coffee to get the kid to practice on time!

Who doesn't like cookies?  No one!  So how can you go wrong giving the natural gourmet cookies made by Cookies for Kids Cancer as a delicious holiday gift for anyone on your list?  They taste as good to eat as it feels to give.  And, Glad is matching bake sale proceeds thru the end of 2010, up to $200k, so have one today!

Flowers anyone?  Try The Lemon Bouquet to benefit Alex's Lemonade Stand, or ProFlowers where $10 of your order will be donated to CureSearch

How about giving a gift to a kid with cancer?  Your $20 will send an Elf and a book “A Gift from Catie” to a pediatric cancer patient and $5 will also be donated to CURE Childhood Cancer.

Those darn calendars again....keeping track of stuff.  Reminders.  Ugh.  If you want do that kind of thing, get your calendar at 46 mommas shave for the brave and benefit St. Baldrick's.

The artwork featured on Cure to the Kids holiday photo cards has been created by a nationwide group of pediatric cancer patients, by artists, and by siblings of pediatric cancer patients who are greatly impacted by the disease.

Holiday Shopping with Pablove

The Pablove Foundation is your one-stop shop for all of your holiday gifting needs. Spoil your favorite cyclist with one of our stylish Pablove kits, jerseys, or helmets. Buy our new Pablove Shutterbugs or I Pablove NOLA T-shirt. We have Pablove gear to fit everyone on your list, and your purchases contribute directly to our mission to help kids and families dealing with cancer.

AND - as a catch-all, just do ALL your shopping via http://www.igive.com!  Register with iGive, select a charity, like Alex's Lemonade Stand. St. Baldricks, Cookies for Kids Cancer or CureSearch, and shop at some popular stores like Nordstrom, Gap, Home Depot, Amazon.com, etc... and a portion of the sale will go to your selected charity!

Or, how about:
  • New additions to the family this year?  Get your baby clothes at Big Heart Baby and benefit CureSearch.
  • Is your giftee into Bears?  As in Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation!  Then you need to check out the Bear Necessities Gift Shop for teddy bears, bear bracelets and more!
  • How about for the cook in the family you want to keep cooking so you don't have to?  The Greg Norman Wine Estates Cookbook will keep 'em cooking for decades, and benefit CureSearch!
  • There's always the St. Jude Gift Shop or HSN Designer Ornament Collection that benefits St. Jude.
  • Beautiful one of a kind handmade lanyards and eyeglass chains made by family and friends of a neuroblastma angel. All proceeds benefit Children's Neuroblastoma Cancer Foundation at http://chooseaverb.blogspot.com
  • Handmade keychains and necklaces made by Anna and friends. Anna is a 25 year old neuroblastoma warrior. All proceeds benefit Anna's Hope, a charity that benefits neuroblastoma research. www.annashope.com
  • How about some Wahoo Chili to keep everybody warm?  Benefiting Riah's Rainbow, a non-profit organization that donates crayons, markers, crafts, etc. to children receiving cancer treatment.(www.riahsrainbow.org).
  • BeatCancerToday.org - will have Beat Cancer shirts available again on the website starting around Thanksgiving time. We have several team colors and shirts will be $10. Proceeds go to CureSearch. What a great way to get out our message and support childhood cancer research.
  • Looking to party?  Then you have to hit the Children's Brain Tumor Foundation Annual Holiday Party Dec. 12th at Beth Israel-Phillips! 
  • How about stuffing stocking with childhood cancer awareness magnets from Arms Wide Open Childhood Cancer Foundation? 
  • Hyundai Hope on Wheels has some great coffee mugs and other stuff that benefits COG hospitals.  
  • Get your Aflac Duck here and benefit Aflac Cancer Center and Blood Disorders Service.


Awareness = Funding = Research = Cure

I realize its been a while since we've posted an update. We'll post soon on holiday-related stuff. Today, I wanted to let you know about a couple of things that came out recently. When combined, I hope the pattern is as obvious to you as it is to me. Read below and then click on each piece of media. Do you notice the pattern? OK, perhaps its only obvious to me.... the pattern is that all three of these media came about as a result of a child dying from cancer. I wished these were instead stories of survivorship. Too often, as the Wall Street Journal story, that spawned the letter to the editor below, mistakenly reports, childhood cancer is portrayed as one of the areas where we've had a "victory" in the war against cancer. This misinformed point of view was even adopted by former supreme court justice Sandra Day O'Connor as she argued for more funding for alzheimer's research, now that medical science can cure "formerly intractable diseases like typhoid, polio and many childhood cancers."

The Grim Statistics On Pediatric Cancer (Letter to the Editor Wall Street Journal)
This is a letter to the editor from parents of two children (Penelope and Hazen) that died from neuroblastoma. John and Scott have been relentlessly pursuing a cure for childhood cancers through their foundation Solving Kids Cancer.

Picture Your Life After Cancer (New York Times Multimedia feature)
This is a multimedia feature on the NY Times website. Hannah (with our stand-in for Max) and Nicky's picture (and the story behind why they were featured), will also be featured in the British magazine Easy Living in March '11. The goal here was to insert a childhood cancer story into what was mainly an adult cancer story of survivorship - to remind readers that the war has not been "won" and that the "survivors" of childhood cancer are frequently the affected child's familes.

Photography Interview with Deb Schwedhelm
This is what I call Trojan Horse awareness. Into what otherwise could be an everyday piece of media, a childhood cancer story takes over. This is where the storytelling we've been doing of Max has been so effective - reaching people who may pass over the headline containing the words "childhood cancer." Deb's continued awareness raising of childhood cancer is, like her photographs of Max and our family, priceless.