Amanda tells the story of how it all began......
Spring 2008 was just like any other season in my life, nothing to write home about. That was until I met 4 year old Joshua Edmondson. With a hat on you would never be able to tell that he is sick; he's spunky and loud and outgoing. He's definitely good for a lot of laughs! Remove that hat and you notice that he has an amazingly smooth, bald and beautiful head. When Joshua was two years old he was diagnosed with a severe autoimmune disease that attacks his hair follicles along with other parts of his body. Not long after that diagnosis, his family was hit even harder with a worse diagnosis- a rare bone marrow disease that effects one in one million children. There is no research or cure for this disease. Joshua travels across the US in hopes of find better ways to manage his pain that the disease causes. As he continues to grow, his doctors continue to diagnose. Last year his doctors added Crohn's Disease and Blau Syndrome to his ever changing list of set backs. You would think that through the endless tests, surgeries, chemo infusions and steroid pulses that it would be impossible for Joshua to find that gorgeous smile and contagious laugh of his...but I've found the exact opposite to be true. Joshua laughs and he plays and he grows and he just wants to be like every other little boy. The reality is that Joshua will never have the chance to live a 'normal' life. From his courage, inspiration and grace was born the Battle for a Cure Foundation.
You see, every time that Joshua is in the hospital he ends up on the oncology floor because his body cannot tolerate the germs that the other children bring in. It was on that floor at Dell Children's Hospital in Austin, Texas that my life changed forever. Joshua is not the only bald little boy with tubes and machines...the reality is that there are TOO many children spending their childhoods on that hospital floor. The more research I did about childhood cancer the sicker I became. "How", I thought, "can the world not be doing MORE about this?!?" Looking at Joshua, looking at the little fighters, I decided I had found my purpose in life. The purpose of the Battle for a Cure Foundation is to send HOPE through gifts and love, and to find a CURE for childhood cancer.
Little DannyRan Matthews received one of our first Hope Baskets (later changed to boxes).
The Battle for a Cure Foundation sends HOPE through Hope Boxes to children fighting cancer and their siblings. A Hope Box contains toys and gifts to help lift the spirits of the kids and families. This year (2011) we sent about 200 Hope Boxes through our Christmas Hope Program to children fighting cancer all over the U.S. as well as countless Hope Boxes through our Kimberly's Hope Program.
In 2012, our new campaign called the CURE Movement will make it's way across the US as a means to fund clinical trials in hopes of finding a CURE for these amazing little kids. As our organization grows, it's very humbling for me to stand back and witness the blessings that are being poured out over all of our families and little fighters. You will never know true inspiration until you have spent time with a child and a family that is fighting childhood cancer; you appreciate every single breath, every single step, every single miracle, every single laugh and smile...you embrace and appreciate all things in life, big and small.
Little Danny and Amanda celebrating his end of treatment by releasing balloons.
When asked by a friend to give an original quote for her to use in a presentation for her college class, this is what I sent in. I want to inspire the younger generation to be world changers! You can do ANYTHING you set your mind and heart to do!
"Each of us has a responsibility given by God to love, care for and help our fellow man. Each of us holds within us the strength, power and intelligence to make a difference in this world. You cannot wait for others to do what you have been called to do. There’s no one else like you; the world is waiting for the original. Step out each day, speak up for what is right and leave your mark on this world; a stamp of love, compassion and joy."
Through love and courage,
Battle for a Cure Foundation