By: Jordan Sheridan

Ya know how specific memories stick with you? No matter how big or small, they are engrained in your head and you are always so curious as to why those are the memories you will have a firm grasp on forever?

I am 5 or 6 years old, and my family and I lived in Connecticut at the time. My brother and I heard my parents talking about money one night, and we got worried. So, the next morning we woke up, got a Tupperware container from the kitchen and went to our neighbors asking for their spare change. Lemme tell ya, mom and dad were not happy. All this took place right before Jack, who is 3 or 4, poured real gasoline into his fisher price lawnmower to “help dad mow the lawn.”

I am 7 or 8 years old, and my grandparents lived in Cazenovia, NY at the time. My grandpa would pick me up and take me on this long drive, and we always ended up in the same place – Burger King. And I would always get the same thing – small Cherry Coke Icee, and it was the best thing on earth. I can still taste it.

I am 15 or 16 years old, and I am pitching against a 21 and up softball team in Binghamton, NY. First pitch was supposed to be a curveball but ended up being a curveball that didn’t curve. A line drive came right back to me and smacked me square in the stomach. I can still picture the ball going towards the plate slow motion, and I can hear myself thinking … “this isn’t gonna be good.”

I am 22 years old, and it’s the night before Thanksgiving. I am walking out of my families house in Fayetteville to go on a first date. The car door was open for me, and with a smirk on my face I got in and sat. I thought “wow what a simple but nice way to get started,” and this “date” is going to be a great one.

My point behind all these memory snapshots is that there is a reason for everything.

My brother and I might have been asking for pennies and nickels but realized it’s not money that makes you happy it’s goofy little kids doing all they can to help (and still want to mow the lawn. How many kids now a day like to mow the lawn am I right?).

Cherry Icee’s from Burger King still exist today, and I am pretty sure they still taste the same – but it’s the company you keep that makes a small snack the best thing on earth.

Playing a sport can be dangerous, especially when you can’t hit your spots. But just like anything in life, when you get knocked down, no matter how hard and no matter how bad it hurts, you have to get up and keep pushing forward.

Opening a car door might seem like the most simple and smallest action, but those are often the ones that count. And who knows…maybe it was that simple and small action that helped me get my date for life.

Every day 43 children are diagnosed with cancer, 12% of those children do not survive, and the average age of a child diagnosed is 6. Pediatric cancer is a tragedy – but there is something to be said about a tragedy. When you are told that your son or daughter or sister or brother or friend or cousin or mom or dad has cancer, you conclude that you have to face reality. You conclude that your world is going to change. But…has anyone ever figured out what that reality is? What that change is?

In my world, that reality and those changes never really stop evolving. I am learning something new every day and relating it back to those questions and feelings I had when I was told my younger brother had cancer, when I went to a funeral for someone who passed away from cancer, when I created On My Team16 and now when I stand in a room and talk to a child or a family going through the same thing I once did. But, something that holds true to those new realities and different changes? Memories.

And not only memories. But the lessons I learned from those memories.

It is easier said than done (and dang near impossible to face that cold-hearted reality and all those confusing changes) but when you are faced with a cancer diagnosis try and remember just a few things.

The average cost of one overnight stay in the hospital for pediatric cancer treatment is $40,000. But at the end of the day, it isn’t about the money, it is about getting your loved one healthy. There are numerous grants and resources to help pay for medical bills, and if you ever feel stuck, OMT16 will do all we can to assist – we will collect pennies and nickels for you.

You do have people around you to support you, care for you and comfort you and that is the most valuable treatment there is. If you don’t feel that to be true, I promise you have us. Remember, it is the company you keep not the taste of the snack.

You will get knocked down, and you will cry and hurt. But no matter how far you fall, how hard you cry or how bad your hurt, you will pick yourself back up, and you will keep going. And if you can’t, we will.

You will see joy, love, and happiness in the most simple and smallest actions and you shouldn’t fight that. If you can’t see it now, OMT16 will be there to give you those actions and push you to embrace those moments because they are going to be the ones that change your life forever.

OMT16 is a team that we consider you a part of. And we will be there for you during every step of this journey.

OMT16 is One Team. And we are All In.