Monday, May 20, 2013

These are days that test faith

Lou and I returned home from Dallas after an incredible fundraiser late last night.  We had a wonderful weekend, we met some extraordinary people with bigger hearts than you can imagine, and we came home feeling inspired.  Then today happened, and it feels like the high from the pleasant balloon ride we enjoyed over the weekend didn't just pop - it burst into flames.  Everything is okay with the Campbell's but there has been a lot of bad news in general that leaves me in a funk tonight. 

Months ago, soon after Ty passed away, I posted this now famous video of Zach Sobiech singing his original song, Clouds.  I fell head over heels in love with him and his family, instantly.  In his video you could watch his mom beam with pride as she whispers along and I felt like we were the same person.  Living in parallel.  Such love, pride, fear and sadness over the loss/pending loss of our sons.  God, there is a spot on the video at 2:56 where his mom mouths the words "it won't be long now" and you can see, just for a millisecond, the most raw and gut-wrenching fear and acceptance in her eyes.  I wish we could embrace in hysterics and just cry together for our boys.  She has no idea who I am, but I am her and she is me. 

It's almost impossible to bear and watching his video always brings tears to my eyes, yet his song also gives me a little bounce in my step and has me singing "up.. up... up... " all day long while thinking and smiling over memories of Ty.  What he did was astounding, so very mature, and I am so glad that it is getting so much attention.  A number of celebrities including Anna Farris, Jason Mraz, Phillip Phillips and more even posted a tribute video to him in March.  You can read about it here on and download the video.  Finally, some beautiful, much needed attention for childhood cancer victims. 

Zach died today.  He was only 18 years old and fought osteosarcoma since 2009.  They are calling it a "rare" cancer, but the majority of childhood cancers, when singled out, are rare.  Cancer among children, however, is not rare.  And there is no known reason or cause.  And it can happen to any child at any time and there needs to be better treatment options.  I want to scream!!  When I first met Zach (virtually) I knew his disease was terminal, but I always held onto hope and I always will for all of these kids.  So today is a day of defeat. 

Today I also received news of my friend's mom who died of breast cancer in the morning.  My dear friend's father died of brain cancer on Thursday.  My phone just buzzed with a news flash that the death toll in Oklahoma is at 37 and expected to rise.  Today is just not a happy day.  I poured a big old glass of wine and I'm sitting here and drawing a complete blank. I am at a loss for words when usually this is my outlet. 

So, instead, I will steal the words from another beautiful cancer mom - Mighty Mikey's mom.  She just said, "Living through Sandy, seeing what it has done to our homes and neighborhood and how Rockaway has fought back and showed our hearts and strength.... that's what I'm wishing for Oklahoma... There is always something to be grateful for!"  Praying so hard!

Only someone who has been to hell and back can see such sunshine through the clouds.  To Chrissie and all cancer moms who truly know what the depths of hell feels like, you are all so brave, so beautiful, so strong and so inspirational.  I am proud to be among you all. 

So on this unhappy day, I did something that made me feel really good.  With Gavin's help (sort-of) we grew morning glory seedlings - blue flowers in honor of Ty.  When I returned from the weekend away I noticed that they had sprouted and were each more than 3 inches tall!  I went outside on this sunny afternoon with Gavin and I lined our fence with Ty's flowers.  I also planted some sunflower seeds where Ty's tulips are dying off.  I need something sunny and bright in that same spot all summer long.  The anticipation for those tulips was grueling because I had such memories of planting them with my Ty... they were beautiful... and now I will anxiously await the arrival of his sunflower substitutes.  Because I know he would have loved them. 

The foundation is going strong.  I have so many ideas for September and so many upcoming announcements.  I can't wait for our giant Muddy Puddles Mess Fest on August 10th!  Our segment on The Doctor's is expected to run in June, and I will encourage everyone to participate in the project at that time (we are currently working through the final glitches on the website before our big roll-out). 

I am still decompressing from all the excitement over our incredible Dallas fundraiser Friday night.  I have photos to share and huge, huge thanks to our friends Kathleen and Rocky for making it all possible.  I flew home with a photo album from the event (what a treat!) but I don't have the photos as digital files yet - I need to scan them - so I hope to post them over the next day or so.  As I mentioned briefly, Lou and I feel so blessed for the opportunity to meet such kind and loving people, and to share Ty with them all.  We absolutely love Texas and promise to be back soon!

In case you haven't seen on Twitter or FB - this photo of Ty is just too cute not to share again.  Thanks to Emilio and his friends for his photoshop skills!!  We love Captain America and pray that our friend Chris Evans will continue to advocate for all kids like Ty :)  Cancer kids are the real super heroes.


  1. Love Ty's captain America picture!
    I'm sending love your way Campbell Family. I wish peace for you hearts.


  2. Bless you....I hope you find peace in your heart from the beautiful flowers.
    From a cancer grandma

  3. The death toll down here is approaching 100. It makes me physically ill. 91 is what I last heard, and I suspect that will only go up.

    So very sorry about the other terrible news as well. My father in law also died of osteosarcoma. His case actually was pretty rare as the disease was diagnosed in his late 50s. I'll get into that more another time. I live very close to that area in Moore that got destroyed and was there today before it hit. I'm kind of in that numb shocked phase at this moment, so my writing is all over the place.

    To end this on a more positive note, congrats on your fundraiser success, and Ty does look adorable as Captain America.

  4. All I can say is that we love you Cindy.You are one magnificent human being-
    My son had some minor surgery yesterday at the Hospital for Special Surgery, and when I went to get the car to pick him up I took a detour and went once around the block of Sloan Kettering to to pay tribute to Ty. Thinking of you and how many times you and Lou must have been in that deli for coffee late at night and the times you drove to those hospitals with emergencies.
    Cancer is such a horrific world, and I am sure there is no one who Zach's mom would want to look toward more, than you.You are so honest, insightful and empathic about this experience and know more than anyone else the numbness and the intense feelings. I hope I am not being to forward with this suggestion, but -hold her hand. You have so much to offer.
    P.S.Send pictures of Ty and Gavin's beautiful flowers when they bloom!! Up, up, up!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. We are also proud to call you friend (even in cyberspace!). I listened to Zach's song and was just hearbroken. I thought of Ty too, going up, up, up. How I wish you had one more hug... actually if I'm wishing, I'd wish for a million. Hugs to you and Lou, Cindy.

  6. My beautiful Ty. My heart belongs to you. The depth of my pain is impossible to measure, but every inch of it is occupied by you. I watch other kids, i read other moms blogs but to me you are the purest most real picture of pain and loss. It is your loss that I feel the most pain for. I dont know why, but the first time your face drew me in it never let me go. The scary thing is that when i see other kids with cancer and watch videos and pictures i see it in their eyes and its scary. Ty had it at the end, those are eyes full of emotions that talk to you without saying much but you know what they are saying and there is no happy ending... I hope no child will ever have "those" eyes, its like a peek into their soul and its telling you something you dont want to hear. Ty covered in the blanket was the picture that when I looked at it I knew that he is saying bye but he was so strong and so amazing. It will haunt me forever. I remember every post you wrote since september of 2012 when they discharged Ty home on hospice. I live every detail with you over and over. Ty smells like apple pie, Ty goes on the date with you in the garden, Ty gets to pet animals. Gavin hugs Ty. Ty dies....Today is my little son birthday he is 5 and I am asking
    G-D to grant a wish and to keep kids cancer free. We adults can handle it, please keep our kids safe and healthy. Amen.
    I miss you Ty, my heart is forever broken for you.

  7. Always thinking of you and your family. My son Brandon just turned 7 in April. I spike his hair as high as it'll honor of your Ty....we dance in the rain, in honor of your Ty....we dance to loud music, in honor of your Ty........we live life to the fullest more so now, because of your Ty!
    Betty Warren, Beacon, NY

  8. Thinking of you all.
    Much love & hugs, Judy

  9. It's true days like this do test your faith.. Such an upbeat beautiful song but the real message is heartbreaking! As I write this yet another beautiful boy is losing his fight to this monster.. So very very sad.. But we have HOPE and people like you that are moving mountains!! Still keeping you in my thoughts and prayers..

    Love Gabrielle

  10. Sweet little guy. My family and I are thinking about you folks. You will see him again SO SOON. Thank you for the inspiration. I will think about Ty any time I worry about dirt on my kids. My kids will get SO dirty today!