Today, January 21, 2017, might be the day after a presidential inauguration for some, and for others it is Saturday after a long week of work but for our family, it is the day we said our goodbyes to the little girl from Orange, Texas. Nine years ago our hearts were broken, our journey had come to an end and with tears streaming down our faces, we told our youngest child, and sister goodbye.
When you have a sick child there are no instructions with your journey on what to do, what to say or even how to feel. But when it comes to grieving the loss of a child – it is even worse! There are no amount of words or comfort that can get you through this terrible time. Again, there were no instructions on how to get through such a terrible loss as a family. But yesterday I came across these words and I think they fit perfectly in what I wanted to say today to each of you.
“We need to remind ourselves that no matter what happens, we have the ability to handle it. We need to remind ourselves that the best thing we can do is to keep on living in the best ways we know how…spreading love and joy and telling the truth…and standing up for those who cannot stand up for themselves. We need to just keep going while we see how things pan out. We need to remind ourselves that everyone is doing the best they can…and the very best thing we can do to help the world and help our lives is to continue to do the best we can do, too…no matter what comes along in life.”
Many of you know that Extra Life was started by one person’s friendship with a young girl whose only dream was to live a normal life. Jeromy Adams is an example of what just ONE person can achieve. Jeromy was determined to do something to help others. Both Jeromy and Tori showed us that ONE person can make a difference.
Victoria “Tori” was an inspiration to others. She did not let her life get her down and in fact once wrote something on her blog that stated:
“I didn’t choose to get cancer once, I didn’t choose to get it twice, and I certainly didn’t choose to get it three times. Yes, some days I feel like saying my life sucks, but you know what – I don’t! I think to myself why am I sulking about my life when some people don’t even get to live an amazing life like me.”
Victoria watched so many little children sick with cancer and other illnesses pass away and never have the chance to really live a life. These children were in hospital beds stuck in a hospital and not out living the life that every child should live – one free of illness. It became her mission in the hospital to inspire and motivate others to be happy, each and every day!
Our family has had the privilege of watching Extra Life grow with the seeds of love and devotion that Jeromy has poured into it and the love he had and continues to have for Victoria and Extra Life. Each year we experience the love of the “Gamers” for the children that they are fighting for, as we watch the fundraising numbers grow! Each year we are so amazed by what is accomplished and it all begins with YOU.
We are so very humbled each and every single time we meet someone new who gives of their time and energy for all children. Each year, we have been so blessed when stories are shared with us about the impact that Extra Life has had on their own life and others. I hope that this year, I can begin my own blog to share with you some of the many stories that have been told to our family. The stories are both amazing and inspiring. This is why we all embrace Extra Life, for the kids, and the fight inside of all of us to “pay it forward" to others!
I want to leave you with these words. YOU are loved. YOU are important. YOU are making a difference! No matter how things turn out, this will never cease to be true. Keep doing the best YOU can. YOU will never know how your life may touch that ONE person and YOU will be forever changed.
YOU really are so very loved.
A great big thank you to Mike, Liz and the Extra Life Team for a wonderful 2016 year. Your dedication, commitment, and love For The Kids and everyone involved in Extra Life is deeply appreciated.
Jo Ellen Enmon
Mother to Victoria “Tori” Enmon