And throughout Charlotte's journey, I have had the honor and privilege of getting to know a great many people fighting this battle. Heartfelt touching stories of survival, devastating stories of loss, amazing stories of hope and courage.
I sometimes feel that we have endured far less than many of you. Our journey was relatively short (albeit terrifying), only chemotherapy agents and GCSF shots, basic PIC and Hickman line care.
I have laughed with many of you, and, unfortunately, cried with many more.
At the end of our road, when we could choose to go on and "pretend" to go back to normal, my husband and I made the decision to press on. We aren't starting a non-profit, and we don't have as loud of a voice as some on the list (I commend you all!), but I DO feel like we have been able to give a many the chance to speak, and others still a reason to listen.
We committed to everyone in this battle in the hopes of repaying the kindness and compassion we were showed every step of the way.
Now that September is here, we wanted to go the extra step.
We don't have any head shaving marathons in our area, but that is the first thing that entered my mind.
Surprisingly, I was met with both a lot of support and also a lot of resistance. People asked me if I was crazy- didn't I care what other people would think?
I only hesitating a moment before I realized- no. Not at all. If it attracts attention, isn't that what I wanted anyway?? The opportunity to have people question me so I could explain?
So I didn't hesitate when I hopped in that chair, and I didn't flinch when I heard the clippers buzz.
I did it for my daughter, I did it for me, I did it for every child we have on Cure Charlotte.
I did it for the children who didn't get to choose to lose their hair. I did it for all of you, still suffering no matter the outcome of their childs battle.
You might think this is where the story ends- but something more amazing to me happened.
My seven year old daughter- who watched her baby sister go through it all with the understanding of an adult- sat down after me and demanded to be shaved as well.
I asked her if she was sure- what if the kids made fun of her?
And she said, "I will tell them I did it for childhood cancer. "
In all my years of being a mother- if I had ever doubted myself, it vanished in an instant. I have never been more proud than I was in that moment.
Off came the curls, replaced by bravery, courage, and most of all, love.
May God grant you all peace in the coming year, and may we continue on this journey together as a united front.
Celebrate ever day and remember- its only hair. It will grow back.
Besides- rather than a bad hair day, I am now having a no hair day.
With everlasting hope,
Kristi M. Rufener
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