Thursday, November 27, 2014

A Time of Thanks

2014 has been one out of control roller coaster ride for me and my family...difficult, sad, and challenging - yet filled with an abundance of blessings, love, and generosity from our community, friends, family, and strangers. We persevered. We grew. Truly God's hand at work.

So it's seems fitting that I share a few of the wonderful moments in Lily's cancer journey that we are so thankful for on her road to remission.

I give thanks for fairy godmothers, unicorns, and a ray of sunshine

When the nurses asked Lily what type of party she wanted for her last day of chemo, she said a princess party and to ride a unicorn. The nurses and I exchanged looks and I said "oookkaayy, anything else maybe?" LOL! But, clearly St. Jude nurses are Fairy Godmothers because her nurse said, "I can actually make that happen." And the rest, as they say, is history. Here are just a few of the links of stations that picked up her story:
Baton Rouge, LA
Johnson City, TN
Myrtle Beach, SC
Pollok, TX
Moselle, MS
Shreveport, LA
Columbus, OH
New York Daily News
Post by ABC News
Post by Good Morning America - GMA, what?! We are still in shock over this coverage.
Post by Our Lady of the Lake Children's Hospital - to see more pictures of Lily's party

Along with the St. Jude Baton Rouge Affiliate nurses, doctors, and staff, we would like to THANK the following companies and organizations for their generous offerings. Please check out their services!!
Here are a few more pictures from the party. This was truly one of the happiest days in my life that I will never forget. For a moment in time, my beautiful ray of sunshine brought a smile to thousands of people as her "unicorn story" ran nationwide.

Princess party decorations
Princess celebration cake
"This is all for you, Lily."
"We are celebrating your Last Day of Chemo." 
Nurses & staff sing a "No Mo Chemo" farewell song.
Crown of flowers
Thanks State Troopers
Photo credit: Amy Martin Photography

Photo credit: Amy Martin Photography
Lily meets Willow the Unicorn

The Raffrays (Photo credit: Amy Martin Photography)
Photo credit: Amy Martin Photography

I give thanks to 3 words

Two weeks later we headed back to St. Jude for post-treatment tests...never did 3 words (or is it 4) provide so much relief and prayers of Thanksgiving!

We are so blessed to have such a strong community of support. Your prayers, words of encouragement, texts, calls, emails, Facebook messages, gifts, etc. meant so much to us. We truly cannot thank you enough...

We were at St. Jude for Halloween - amazing! They hold back no expense to give these children a wonderful trick-or-treating experience. I have tons of pictures to share from this trip so I'll save those for another post.

I give thanks for walking

On Saturday November 22, we participated in the St. Jude Give Thanks. Walk. What an inspiring day to honor those survivors and angels who battle such terrible diseases!

It was announced that Baton Rouge had the largest participation out of the 66 communities across the nation and raised close to $450,000! WOW!! Read more from The Baton Rouge Advocate's article.

"Team Lily R" raised close to $5,000!! Every dollar donated goes towards patients' medical expenses so families going through treatment, like ours, never receives a bill. What a Heavenly concept. It's never too late to donate to St. Jude. Your heart will fill with joy each time. 


"team Lily R" - minus a few.

I give thanks to Ole Maw

Finally, I give thanks to the Lord that this beautiful woman was in my life for over 38 years.

After the past few months of pushing forward to get Lily better, I received the hardest punch in the gut when my grandmother, Mary Templet, died suddenly on Sunday, November 16th.

Her obituary.

My heart aches for you and my mind still can't believe that you are gone. Your support over my lifetime is so dear to me as well as the love you've given to my children. Thank you for always calling me on my birthday. Thank you for giving me my incredible mother and along side her teaching me so many life lessons that has made me the woman I am today. Thank you for joining in on Lily's tea parties and checking in on us through her journey. I wish we could have had one more coffee pot, one more visit. I wish you could have celebrated Lily's remission with us. I love you.

I wish you all a bless Thanksgiving day with family and friends.


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