To all moms and to all dads, who are faced with the pain of hearing the words “your child has cancer” – You might be surprised by this, but I want to take these next few moments to congratulate you.

Congratulation – noun, words expressing praise for an achievement or good wishes on a special occasion.

So, how can “congratulation” and “cancer diagnosis” be in the same sentence? Well…

I congratulate you on keeping it together when quite frankly…nothing seemed to be going right. You were burdened with some of the most devastating and heartbreaking news, you were faced with difficult questions that you never imagined you would have to answer, and even more difficult choices that you never wanted to be responsible for making. I am sure every memory of your child’s past, and every vision of your child’s future, flashed before your eyes, and the iconic lyrics from the Bruce Springsteen song, “This Is Your Sword” stating…

“At times there are dark, dark must cover the earth

This world’s filled with the beauty of God’s work

Hold tight to your brawn, stay righteous, stay strong

When the days of miracles will come along”

….might have hit home a little more for you, in the exact moment that the doctor informed you that your child had cancer.

I congratulate you on taking on the strenuous task of putting truth behind the saying “you never know how strong you are, until being strong is the only choice you have”. You might have walked into the hospital with a heavy heart and your head down, but you still put one foot in front of the other, and the second you entered the pediatric oncology center, or your child’s room on floor 11G, your head was up, you had a bright smile on your face, and you played your role as a parent of a child with cancer.

You put your own worry, sadness, anger and fear aside, and stood strong for your child, and for their siblings, and for that, I congratulate you.

I congratulate you on never giving up.
No matter how sick he was.

No matter how much money a single chemotherapy pill was.

No matter how angry his sister was.

No matter how tired you were.

No matter how many extra shifts you had to pull.

No matter how uncomfortable the couch was you had to sleep on every night.

No matter how bad the doctors said it was.

No matter how bad you thought it was, you never gave up, and for that, I want to congratulate you.

And finally, I want to congratulate you on never letting us give up. “Us” being the people from the outside looking in; siblings, friends, extended family members, friends of friends. No matter how bad the days seemed, no matter the uncertainty, no matter how scared we were…you never let us stop believing in miracles, even when you might have been struggling to believe them yourself, and for that…I congratulate you.

To all the parents, who have a child battling cancer, I congratulate you.

Cancer is an awful disease, and not only does it affect the individual diagnosed, but it affects those who stand by that individual every day, until they are deemed cancer free…the moms and the dads.

On My Team16 strives to alleviate the worry, loneliness and suffering of every family member trying to cope with childhood cancer. By making donations to pediatric oncology centers we alleviate some of those financial restraints. By visiting children in the hospitals with gifts and toys, we give parents and caregivers a chance to take a step back and breath easy, knowing that for a few minutes, their child is going to be entertained without their help. By bringing in athletes from all over the country, who are dedicated to making a difference in the lives of others, to hang out with kids, to color, to talk sports, or to just be an inspirational figure, we give back joy to their child, in turn giving them joy.

OMT16 wants to be more than just a non profit organization. We want to make sure that every child, and every family member, impacted by cancer feels as if they are a part of something bigger. They are on OUR team, and together WE are all fighting their battle.

In just 12 short days, we will be making our first donation to Golisano children’s hospital in Syracuse, NY. Please consider visiting to learn how you can get involved – every bit counts.

Dedicated to my mom and dad – the two strongest people I know.