Today it has been exactly four months since Laney got her pink, glittery, angel wings. It honestly doesn’t seem real to me some days. Then there are some days where the pure reality of it brings me to my knees. When I look at her pictures hanging on the walls I know that there will never be new ones to replace them. Our pictures will grow older but hers will always remain the same. I will always have an eight year old daughter no matter how old or gray I get. It is also a reality when I scroll through pictures on my phone. It takes me longer and longer to scroll to a picture of her beautiful face. That is a constant reminder that time is moving forward without her in it.
People ask how we are doing all the time and I really don’t have an answer for them except to say we are “existing”. It is crazy how much one little person in a family of five kept us all balanced. The off balance, which is our lives now, is so unsettling. I always say she was our ying in a family full of yangs. There is one thing that Laney did leave behind and that is her inspiration. I receive emails everyday about how Laney has changed people’s lives for the better. I’ve read stories about how her hope and strength has given others hope and strength.
As well as inspiring people from around the world, she has also inspired my family and I. She has inspired me not to be stagnant in this life because you never know when it will be taken from you. She inspired us to make a difference and to change the hearts and lives of others by example and not in words alone.
When Laney was first diagnosed with AML we got to experience life with cancer and see others around us doing the same. The hospital was home to us. Laney got to see all the joy that the nurses and doctors brought to the children they cared for. But she also got to see less fortunate things. She got to see children who never had a mommy or daddy at their bedside. She saw children without one card taped to their walls. Laney and I prayed together for a little boy who had died just a couple rooms down from us while his mom cried uncontrollably in her family’s arms. That’s when Laney said she wanted to do something special for other children with cancer. She wanted to tell them not to be afraid. Her dream was to become a pediatric oncology nurse so that she could tell the kids that their hair will grow back and show them how hers did.
Since Laney was more than a decade away from being able to start her nursing career we talked with her about doing something for the kids and families now. We talked about decorating the doors of the other children because we all know how Laney loved to bling things out. We talked about ways to raise money for families who were struggling. Her face would always light up at the thought of helping others.
When Laney has passed away her dreams did not go with her. Her inspiration blazed stronger than ever in my heart. I was going to make her dreams a reality. I was going to make her legacy live on. So with the help of many people we have started a foundation in her honor. We named it Laney’s Legacy of Hope. We did so because Laney does have a legacy. She has touched hearts from around the entire world. She was also given the title of Ambassador of Hope because she brought communities together. Ten thousand people gathered outside our home to sing her Christmas carols. Delaney taught people that sometimes it is the most inexpensive presents that matter the most on Christmas. She made people look past all the distractions that life gives you and caused you to remember the important things in life, family, faith, and love.
With that said I would like to officially announce Laney’s foundation….. Laney’s Legacy of Hope! We will provide funding to families of children with high risk cancers and also give money to researchers to continue their mission of finding a cure.
With your help we can make Laney’s dreams come true and make a difference in sick children’s lives. Take action against childhood cancer!