One thing I feel compelled to note, is that every single time you reach out to us, to cheer us on, to cheer us up, to say that you’re thinking about us, that you’re praying for us – all of it is so appreciated and spurs us on. Please do not get discouraged if we do not respond back to you as quickly or frequently as you might like. Please extend us grace. I know a lot of people imagine we sit around in the hospital all day, but it is surprisingly busy and because our lives are literally consumed by the tedious, unrelenting fight against cancer, sometimes all I want is 30 minutes to veg out on a movie.
The other more important point is that you should never stay silent because you feel your words are lacking. You are right that your words are insufficient if you expect that your words can make this all better and fixed, but we know that is an absurd goal for mere words. But wrestling and groping to put words to your heart is an action that in itself demonstrates great love toward us. When we put in the effort to try to pin down these immense feelings and aches and joys, we possess them more, we take ground, we gain ownership, we are more full and that is a blessing not only to us, but to yourself and it increases your ability to love others as well. So, don’t think your words have to look all pretty, just try and that will be a bounty to us that far surpasses words that feel so small.
Lastly, life here at the hospital feels like a tsunami has carried us away from our home, our life. While we appreciate all of your well wishes toward us, please don’t cut us off more by depriving us of the joy of knowing what’s going on in your life. If you and I have a relationship, and you are not simply an onlooker, know that relationships are two-way and I still really care what’s going on in your life. Don’t hold back the details because you think you’re trials don’t compare to ours. Yes, our reality lends perspective, but we all have joys and challenges, extraordinary and ordinary, and I want to hear about it. I want to know about the weather back home and what you did last weekend. Send me a text every now and then of that great big sky or snow sticking in your hair.
Here are a few things that would be super helpful:
- Pray for us
- Text or call us up on the phone and even if we don’t pick up or call you back, know that we have felt the love
- Send us a card and better yet – a picture of you to remind us of all those caring for and supporting us
- Gas cards (Costco, Exxon)
For Sten and Solveig specifically:
- Bring Solveig and Sten a meal. We have set up an online meal schedule which will give you all the details. Go to “Take Them A Meal”
- You can then sign up to bring them a meal on a Monday or Wednesday. Please look over what other folks are bringing so they don’t end up eating the same thing for a week or two straight. Please note that Solveig is allergic to ALL NUTS so please be careful to avoid including nuts, even things like peanut oil.
- If you’re not much of a cook or in a hurry but still want to help out, a gift card would be great (Co-Op, Papa Murphy’s, Town & Country, Ale Works, Pizza Campania)
- If you have other ideas of how you may want to help, please contact our beloved sister-in-law, Jess at (406) 850-3996
- Sten & Solveig’s mailing address in Bozeman: 14176 Kelly Canyon Rd, Bozeman, MT 59715
For Allistaire and Jai specifically:
- Please don’t send stuffed animals, blankets, crayons, makers, coloring books or sticker books = we already have SO many :)
- You can sign up to bring Jai a meal on the “Take Them a Meal” website. Allistaire will have her food provided through the hospital.
- Gift cards to local grocery store and restaurants (University Village, QFC, Pagliacci Pizza, Metropolitan Market, Starbucks)
- If you want to send something to cheer up Allistaire, here are a few ideas: mixed CDs with happy music, small toys, lip gloss, small art crafts, happy decor for her hospital room
- One thing I’d love is a few great DVDs that help her learn her ABCs (FYI: I think we have all the Leap Frog options at this point. Thanks!)
- Address for Allistaire & Jai: Ronald McDonald House, Attn: Allistaire Anderson, 5130 40th Ave NE, Seattle, WA 98105 or starting 11/19 we can also receive mail at the hospital: Seattle Children’s Hospital, Attn: Allistaire Anderson, 4800 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105
If you want yet more ways to help, have I mentioned that you can donate blood and sign up to be a bone marrow donor? This is a gift that not only blesses Allistaire but many others as well! If you do donate blood or sign up for the registry in Allistaire’s honor – please make a little sign saying so and send me a picture of yourself in the act so to speak!
To donate blood in Montana: United Blood Services
To donate blood in western Washington: Puget Sound Blood Center
To join the bone marrow registry: Be The Match
Do you just have more money than you know what to do with? Here are three phenomenal places you can give to that directly support Allistaire and both children and adults with cancer:
Seattle Children’s Hospital (of the $3,800,000 dollars spent on Allistaire’s treatment so far, the $600,000 that insurance did not cover has been covered by the hospital’s foundation)
The Ben Towne Foundation (aims to create targeted therapies to cure pediatric cancer without the use of chemotherapy and radiation)
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (to whom we are indebted for Allistaire’s last transplant, Dr. Greenberg’s lab which we are holding out hope may offer amazing modified T-cells to target Allistaire’s cancer after a 2nd transplant, and just lots of amazing science that benefits a wide range of cancer patients)
Thank you immensely for all of your kindness, generosity and love toward us. You certainly diminish the weight of our heavy load and add joy to our lives!