Thursday, December 3, 2009

Anna's Hope

Yesterday I told you a little bit about Anna. There's more.

During her chapel address to over 2,000 Wheaton College students (now there's enough to make your knees knock together!!), Anna noted two changes in her outlook on life now that she's had cancer for over seven years.

First, she said that her entire view of living each moment of each day has changed. She now knows that relationships are the most important aspects to life. Not that doing what needs to be done every day isn't important--those papers must get written!--but her relationships with friends and family are what bring her true joy.

Second, Anna has come to appreciate the simple pleasures of life. She noted how during one long hospital stay she thought that Panera soup was just about the best thing on earth. Nothing could compare to it in Anna's eyes.

The simple things.

As I write these important lessons that Anna has learned--that I need to learn--I think about the season we're in right now, the season of Advent. The season that reminds us that God is with us, Immanuel. And I think, now, why am I worried about what gift to buy for that teacher? Why do I spend time on the mundane things of every day when I should be focused on the fact that there's so much more to this life?

Anna has caught a vision for what a life truly lived looks like. She sees her purpose as being here to help kids who have cancer. Not only is she getting a master's degree in clinical psychology so that she can counsel kids with cancer, she's also started a nonprofit organization to help further Neuroblastoma research.

You can read more about Anna's story and her foundation, Anna's Hope, by clicking here. You can even hear her chapel address by clicking on that same link. If you want to contribute to Anna's Hope, click here. If you contribute $25, you'll even receive a cool necklace like the one in the picture above.

Finally, what I really want to focus on during this Christmas season are the words Anna used to close her time in chapel. She said, "God is with me. Right now."



  1. I read a little bit of the "journal" of Anna's diagnosis and such. Though we were not dealing with cancer it reminds me so much of the "journal" I made during our liver transplant escapade. It is a little hard for me to read her story. I can so relate to the mother's emotions and her wanting to also relate all the "normal" activities that their family is walking through while they also deal with such horrible news. You do so long for a normal boring life when your child is very ill.

    You know such fascinating people. Maybe it is because you just know so many MORE people living in a more metropolitan area.

    It is encouraging to read that God is still God no matter what this life brings into our paths.

  2. Wow. I really needed to be reminded of those things today, when I am so overwhelmed with the "stuff that needs to be done" and can so easily loose sight of what's really important. Thank you.
    Thank you for sharing Anna's amazing story with us again.

  3. Linda, I guess I do know a lot of fascinating people--including you! I am so thankful for the amazing people in my life.

    H, I needed to remind MYSELF of that, which is why I write.

  4. Oh Shelly, I'm sitting here with tears in my eyes for a number of reasons. I've just caught up on your posts (you've been a prolific writer!) and you are writing profound truths in a lyrical and touching way. Wow. Thanks, friend, for sharing your heart.

  5. Dec. 22, 2002 our beautiful 35 year old daughter called to tell us
    she had cervical cancer. She has been cancer free for 7 years. We thank God daily.
    Our son has Crhons Disease. When he was 18 he had his large intestine removed. He is a healthy man with a wife and 2 boys.
    We are so blessed. I cannot imagine what it would be like not to have God in our lives.
    Reading about Anna caused me to think about our family and how Thankful I am.
    Thank you for sharing so much with us.

  6. What an amazing girl and an amazing faith.

    I too am learning to take pleasure in the simple things God has given each and every day. To focus on the blessings of now, instead of always reaching for what I think I should be blessed with in the future.

    Also, thank you for stopping by and for your words of encouragement. They meant the world to me :-)