If fairy godmothers existed, cancer survivors with late-stage disease who are rearing children might ask: "Fairy Godmother, can you give my family a vacation from my illness? Please?"
Now some parents can.
Like Leah in my previous post, Jill Albert was suffering from late-stage cancer and knew her time was running out. She and her husband, Jon, accepted and prepared for the likely outcome while hoping she would live longer -- even just a little longer -- than expected. Their "hopeful acceptance" gave them the courage and fortitude to prepare their young children, Jake and Jamie, for their mother's death.
A key element of these preparations was creating mini-vacations from family illness that would become happy memories for the children to recall after Jill died. "'Never again' begins when Mom or Dad dies. When 'never again' begins, memories become our greatest inheritance."
Jon and Jill's shared belief in the healing power of joyful memories led them to start The Jack and Jill Late-Stage Cancer Foundation (JAJF), an organization committed to providing so-called "WOW" experiences to families in need.
Just weeks before Jill died in 2006, she took comfort in watching JAJF get off the ground, saying, "The children need a break...and so do the parents. This Foundation needs to continue. It must."
In my next post, I'll bring you up-to-date regarding the JAJF.