Thursday, September 3, 2015

Tell Them

I have a spool of yellow ribbon sitting on top of my dresser.

And I'd like to give a piece of it to you.

But usually it's not my style to put things out there.

To put myself out there.

This is different.

Because I have this yellow ribbon.

And I have something that I care deeply about.

I'll cut up a three-inch strand. I'll find a safety pin and I'll get it to you. If you need me to run it by your house, drop it off at work, drop it in the mail, I will. I promise.

As long as you promise me one thing.

When you wear it and people ask you why you're wearing a yellow ribbon, you tell them.

You tell them about the little girl who had plans to be a vet.

The little girl who was practically a card-carrying member of the ASPCA. The little girl who sold lemonade in the front yard and sold her family on spa treatments in her bedroom. All in the name of animals.

You tell them about the little girl who didn't live to see double digits.

You tell them that kids get cancer too.

You tell them September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. That we're going gold.

And you tell them about that little girl.

You tell them about the mother who tries with all that she can to live her best life each day, but finds herself failing miserably time and time again. You tell them about the dad who says things aren't good again, not yet anyway.

You tell them about two rough and tumble little boys who said goodbye to their big sister one morning and that was it. The last time they saw her. You tell them about the baby sister who knows big sister only through pictures and videos.

You tell them kids get cancer too.

You tell them it's tough to talk about. And it is. But tell them we need to talk about it.

You tell them 43 children were diagnosed with cancer today.* Forty-three. Trust me, their parents don't know which way is up.

You tell them 12 percent of children diagnosed with cancer will die.

You tell them childhood cancer doesn't discriminate. It doesn't care if you're rich or poor, black or white. It doesn't care if you have a slumber party planned for your 9-year-old daughter's birthday next week. It doesn't care about, well, anything you had planned.

You tell them about 1 in 285 children will be diagnosed with cancer by the time they reach age 20.

Yes, you read that right.

You tell them childhood cancer isn't all that rare.

You tell them research for childhood cancer is grossly underfunded.

You tell them how much that hurts your heart.

How much it hurts mine.

You tell them about the little girl - my little girl, the one who was diagnosed on a Tuesday and died six days later. Tell them what her 9 years on Earth were made of and think about what her life would've been like had she been given 60 or 70 more.

And you tell them that kids get cancer too.

Behind my yellow ribbon is an orange
one that Addie's friends distributed
three years ago.

*Statistics taken from,, and


  1. Thanks for sharing, Jamie. Thinking of you during such a difficult time - knowing much of the time is difficult - and appreciate your brave sharing! Lynne Herr

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Lynne. Part of my Project Brave, I guess. :-)

  2. Hi Jaime,
    Again, you don't know me personally but your words touch me as I have a daughter about the same age as Addie. I work at Gold Crest with your MIL. I will proudly wear a gold ribbon in Addie's honor. If you want to get a ribbon to Joyce and have her bring it to work, I can grab it from her. Praying for your continued strength!

    1. Thank you, Cindy. I'll make sure to get a ribbon to Joyce. Thank you so much for working to spread awareness.

  3. Hi Jamie -

    I would love to have a gold ribbon to wear in honor of your dear sweet Addie. I will do my best to help you spread the word about childhood cancer. I will follow your wishes and tell your story as best I can so that others will begin to understand how this terrible disease attacks the lives of everyday people like you or me... and why it's so important for all of us to do what we can to push for and help fund research to rid this world of childhood cancers... so no more moms have to suffer through what you must go through each day. My heart and prayers go out to you... a wonderful mother of four and quite possibly the bravest, strongest woman I know.

    Love ya, Jeni

    1. Of course I'll get one to you. That'll give us an excuse to get together! Thanks for stopping by the blog...and as always, thanks for your support.

  4. Jamie -
    I will wear a yellow ribbon for Addie. I will put in on my school lanyard, not just for the month of September, but for always. You can send me one, or I would be honored to make my own.
    Amy Schlife Muhs

    1. Of course I'll send you one! Thank you so much for your support!

    2. What is your email address, Jamie? I want to send you a picture. I got the ribbon today. I had already put one on my lanyard, but now I have 2.

  5. Yes, kids can get cancer too, and that's the saddest part of our lives, seeing our loved ones suffering from this disease. I may not know exactly the feelings of having cancer, but my heart cries every time I see people suffering from cancer. Anyway, since September is childhood cancer awareness month, let us spread the awareness to honor the families who've lost their children to cancer or are battling it at the moment.