Thursday, January 21, 2016

Fighting Cancer With Positive Thoughts: A Request For Help

I'm creating this project because I need to ask for help. That's something that I'm not so good at doing. Many of us struggle with that, I think and Amanda Palmer wrote a wonderful book on the topic after giving an amazing TED talk. It's something that's stuck with me ever since. I find myself in a place now where it's time to put that into action and to ask. What I'm asking for here is something that's huge and hopefully something that's tangible as well...I'm asking for encouragement, positivity, empathy, compassion, hope, a smile, a laugh, a tear, a sliver of happiness in any way that you can offer it. Here's why:

For awhile now, my dad (his name is David) has been consistently losing weight and has struggled with numerous health issues. After months of awful doctors, we found an amazing primary care doctor that ran a battery of tests and discovered that my dad has Stage III non small cell lung cancer. We discovered that in September of this past year. His treatment team has been AMAZING! He's been more invested in his own health than I've ever seen him because others are invested in him as well. He started chemo in November and after two rounds, he had to stop because it was too much on his kidneys. He was hospitalized for a week to recover and is just now getting ready to start treatment again. Unfortunately, despite the first rounds of chemo, the tumor grew a small amount. He is now going to be getting radiation 5 days a week for about 7 weeks in addition to chemo once a week.

Me, my little brother and my sister with my dad this past Christmas

The biggest battle my dad is facing right now is a mental battle. When he began this journey, he was able to think positive. I've been able to have a closer relationship with my dad than I've ever had because of the positivity and the lifestyle changes he's made as a result of this diagnosis. I've worked hard with him at changing his thought processes when he can, though I know (to the extent that I can) that it's terribly hard to do so when fighting this. His appetite has been taken away by cancer and my dad's main passion in life has always been food and cooking. He's an amazing chef. He's down to 135 pounds now...about 100 pounds less than he once weighed.

This next round of treatment is not going to be easy. The hardest part is going to be the emotional battle. He has admitted so himself. He's scared and understandably so. My dad has one of the kindest and most giving souls I've ever known. But he doesn't always take the best care of himself. And when depression sinks in like it has lately, it really gets bad. He did so well at the beginning of this and he still is as far as communicating what he worries about and what his problems are, but it's a battle and a struggle to fight the challenges. He's not eating like he should. He's not moving around and exercising. He doesn't always take his medications like he should. My dad loves cooking, food, reading nonfiction, he'll talk music from the 60's and 70's with you until your ear falls off! But those things haven't been there lately. I want them back. And I want a smile on his face again! His face lights up when he knows he's making someone else happy :)

Chemo round 1 and Chemo round 2!

So here's my idea!!! Yes there's a point to all of this :p I've been blogging for about 10 years now in one place or another. I know the power of community and support that comes from connections made online. I'm also a counselor as a profession. I want him to know that there is so much kindness and goodness and love in this world and that there is so much to fight for. I want him to know that complete strangers care about how he's doing just like he shows concern for the other people he sees when he's at the oncology center. I want to do something like a Go Fund Me page, but for creative expressions, not money. Yes, he has bills coming out of his ears, but money we can take care of and deal with. You can't buy happiness. I KNOW that this idea would put the biggest smile on his face and would truly be life changing for him. Here's what I'm asking if you have the time and if it's something that you're interested in:

  • I would love to start being able to bring my dad little pieces of joy from all over the country and possibly the world to let him know he's being thought of and cared for. This is where you come in. I'm not asking for any money to be spent here! The possibilities are endless as to what this could be....a card, a postcard, a letter, a piece of art (any type of art!), something handmade or crafted, a little memento or good luck charm or trinket, a second hand book, a recipe, a bookmark....or any other myriad of things you can think of. Literally, the possibilities are endless and nothing is a bad idea
  • If you think of something that you would like to send but you can't afford shipping, please email me at chrisa511(at)gmail(dot)com and I will HAPPILY pay your shipping costs as long as it's reasonable :p My dad does not need a concrete statue shipped to him though that is extremely sweet if you have thought of that! :p It just might be a bit expensive to ship. 
  • There is a tab at the top of this page that says "Where to send things". Click on that and my address will be there. I live in a gated apartment and anything sent to my address will be secure. I assure you that anything that you send to my dad will make it's way to him :)
  • I will post updates as to how this project goes on this blog, hopefully including pictures and updates on how my dad is doing as well for those who want to know.
  • Right now, this project is a surprise for my dad. He doesn't know about it yet. I have not told him about it because this is a true social experiment :p I'm hoping it will not be a complete failure.
  • PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT THIS AND SHARE THE LINK TO THIS BLOG!!!! It is most definitely not a requirement that you know me or my dad to send something in for this project. In fact, the purpose of this project is to show the power that the kindness of strangers can have on others. I'm hoping this reaches as many people as possible and that I can continually bomb my dad with happiness :) I am doing everything that I possibly can to fight for my dad right now. It's my number one priority. If I could email everyone in the world personally asking for help, I would :p 
  • If sending something in the mail isn't an option or time is an issue, which I TOTALLY understand, feel free to leave him a message by leaving a comment on any of these posts :) I'll be sure that he gets it! Does anyone know of a good website to set up a guestbook or something like that that I can do for him? 
  • Please ask me any questions that you might have! You can email me at chrisa511(at)gmail(dot)com or find me on twitter or instagram as chrisa511. I'm all over the internet :p 
Above all, remember the purpose of this is to lift my dad's spirits. To motivate him. To remind him on the days where it's impossibly hard to fight that there are things worth fighting for and there are people who care. To let him know that there's an army of people out there who care about him and who are thinking about him. Ultimately, this boils down to letting him know just how much good there is to fight for on the days when despair and depression and exhaustion kick in and cloud all of that. 

Last but CERTAINLY not least 



  1. This is an amazing idea, Chris! Good luck with the project & best wishes for you and your dad.

  2. This is brilliant!
    Sending nothing but love your way. You are part of such a wonderful family, and your Dad should be so proud! He has some amazing children. It is amazing how just a smile can change your whole day, and I truly hope he receives an overabundance of support and fun things in the mail. Can't wait to find something to send!

    1. I should proofread before LOVE

  3. This is a beautiful idea! I can't wait for people to pour out their love and support for your dad.

  4. I think this is such a creative and loving way to brighten your Dad’s spirits, and I KNOW how touched he will be on yet another avenue of your support in his life journey. Your written words, as always, have touched my heart. I want to remind you of what a remarkable young man and son you are. I admire you in so many ways – your big and beautiful heart, your unselfishness, your caring and sincere spirit, your willingness to help, your generosity, your tenacity, your way of thinking ‘outside the box’, your brain, your person, the way you love, etc. etc. You have always given 100% + to everything you put your mind to, and again this journey is no different. I am in awe of your creativity in forging ahead, no matter the obstacle. We have been taught to share generously with those in need and good things will come to us in turn. I think helping others brings meaning and fulfillment to our own lives in a way that wealth, power, possessions, and self-centered pursuits can never match. You are a compliment to your profession -- your clients are fortunate to have found the perfect Counsellor in YOU, and I am SO blessed, honored, proud, and forever grateful to call you MY SON  . I love you always and forever!!

  5. Dear Chris, what a wonderful idea! I'm keeping your Dad in my thoughts and prayers, and sending big hugs to the whole family!

  6. Chris you rock! I've been talking more often with your Dad and visiting more. That will continue. You keep doing what you're doing. Praying daily for a positive to outcome with his health. Love ya!

  7. I love you so much! This literally made me cry. I love this idea and will most definitely do my part here in austin!! I am always here for yall!

  8. I went to St Matthias with your dad, I was a year older. I haven't seen David in years but have fond memories of growing up together. Tell him hello for me and to keep fighting.

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Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment :) They'll all be shared with my dad, I assure you!