Why I read Donna

12651110_10208788891665897_6285872221684755277_nThe first time I read about sweet Donna Hornick was in 2011. I was not blogging at ChicagoNow, but I was a follower of the wonderful blog Mary Tyler Mom, (MTM) written by Donna’s mom, Shelia Quirke.

Donna’s Cancer Story appeared daily during the month of September, 2011 as a way to honor Donna and to recognize Childhood Cancer Awareness month. Each post covered one month of little Donna’s 31 months of treatment.

Today is Donna Day, a day for celebrating Donna’s short life. A day when bloggers are sharing Donna’s story to honor her and to raise awareness and funds, yes FUNDS so that one day, we can stop pediatric cancer.

I’m so glad I read Donna all those years ago. And now, I read Mary Tyler Mom’s Childhood Cancer Series every September.

“Why would you read something that you know is so heartbreaking?” many of you may be wondering. Or even “HOW can you read that?” As a mother, I stopped reading many a book, stopped seeing so many movies and reading so many news stories regarding mistreatment, misfortune and tragedy surrounding children. They all just hit too close to home. They hurt me. They stirred up my worst fears.

But Donna’s story? I felt compelled to read. After the first paragraph, on September 1st, knowing dear Donna died way to soon, I knew I had to hear her story. For her, for her parents, for her family, for me.

At first I read, quite simply, because MTM is a gifted, articulate and compelling writer. Her words are heartfelt, tragic and oh so authentic. Once I got to know her writing, I got to know Donna – a bright little ray of light toddler girl who warmed my thoughts every day. As September moved along, I read because I felt an obligation to see the story through with the rest of the 46,000 + readers. I needed to continue to know Donna.

I kept reading to show support for this brave and wonderful mother. I kept reading because I realized every day, I was learning to grab life, my kids and my husband a little bit harder. I kept reading and crying and counting my blessings. I read until the end knowing the outcome, but still hoping….Not that the story would change – I knew that wouldn’t happen.

But I came away believing in hope for every moment. More than ever, I will “live until I die.”  And on the days I forget to hope or forget to live, I will think of Donna, a baby girl I never met, and remember.

Help remember Donna and help find a way to end pediatric cancer. I had no idea that there was a huge gap in the funding of pediatric cancer research. Not until I started reading about Donna. You can read about the funding gap right here

Every year, Donna’s family hosts an event to raise money for St. Baldrick’s, an organization that funds research for pediatric cancer. If you are in the Chicago area, take a look at event information here.

To make a donation, click here.

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