If you missed John L. Smith’s presentation of “Amelia’s Long Journey: The Challenge of Writing What you Know” at the Clark County Library in Las Vegas, you can download the podcast through the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District’s website. If you were lucky enough to see the presentation, what a great way to remember the evening!
Review-Journal columnist and daughter recall her fight against cancer in new book
By JOHN PRZYBYS
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL
Regular readers of the Review-Journal know John L. Smith. And, if they know Smith, they have become acquainted with his daughter, Amelia, who has made numerous appearances in her dad’s columns during the past 13 years.
Readers experienced the day Smith and his wife, Patricia, welcomed Amelia into their family and shared, vicariously, such child/parent milestones as Amelia’s first day of school.
But, during the past five years, readers also witnessed the most daunting challenge the Smiths have faced: Amelia’s battle with cancer.
Fortunately, that’s a story with a happy ending. And, now, in Amelia’s Long Journey: Stories About a Brave Girl and Her Fight Against Cancer ($14.95; Stephens Press, which is a sister company of the Review-Journal), Smith and his daughter recall Amelia’s medical struggles via Smith’s columns and previously unpublished family photos.
When our Amelia was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor, we were thrust into a world of doctors and difficult decisions. Although family and friends rallied to our side, and strangers contacted us from across the country, we often still felt isolated and at times very much alone.
That’s when a group of new friends appeared. They represented the Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation of Nevada, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and the Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation. They carried with them gifts for Amelia and a message for us: “You are not alone.”
When Amelia was at last out of the hospital, we learned about the St. Baldrick’s Foundation and its focus on fund-raising for childhood cancer research. We saw the money raised during its annual day of head shaving stay in our community to help treat children on the front lines of their cancer fight. The message was repeated: “You are not alone.”
Thanks in part to the efforts of these charities and other worthy foundations, Amelia received a boost to her spirits at crucial times in her journey. For that, the Smith family will always be grateful.
The message of hope echoes through everything they do.
Since 1993, the Mission of the Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation has been to work side by side with the medical community to provide social, emotional, educational, financial and psychological support services and programs to families of ALL children diagnosed with a life threatening or critical illness such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, sickle cell, hemophilia, renal disorders and immunologic diseases.
The NCCF is a non-profit organization serving critically ill children and theirfamilies living in Southern Nevada and offers over 25 programs and services including the first and only in-patient classroom in the state of Nevada.
The NCCF continues to create new programs and services to fill the voids that exist in helping critically ill children.
Visit NCCF at www.nvccf.org, phone 702-735-8434
Children undergoing long term medical treatment keep busy schedules filled with doctors’ appointments, hospital stays, painful and invasive medical procedures. The wish provides moments of wonder and delight to so many children and the families who love them, in need of relief from the daily stresses and uncertainties associated with the diagnosis of a life-threatening medical condition.
“The granting of our daughter’s wish was so much more than the materialistic aspect. Although everything we needed was provided by Make-A-Wish, the biggest blessing that you provided for our family us very hard to put into words. The wish gave us a distraction, a goal to look forward to. We were able to take a break and focus on reinforcing our love for each other. We cannot put a price tag on that.”
www.snv.wish.org, phone 702-212-9474
Chartered in 1978, Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation of Nevada was founded by two families, each of whom had a child being treated for cancer. They believed that families could find strength, knowledge and comfort by banding together during difficult times. They wanted to use their experience and resources to lessen the burden of families they knew would follow. Since that time, Candlelighters has assisted more than 2,000 families. Through its many programs, Candlelighters provides assistance for quality-of-life issues that are a large part of the childhood cancer experience, including disease-specific education and emotional support. In certain circumstances, Candlelighters also offers families much-needed financial support. Some of the most vital services Candlelighters provide include: patient advocacy, emergency assistance, travel for treatment, family counseling, survivor scholarships and other programs and services such as meal tickets, hospital visits, toy boxes for out-patient clinics, financial aid guidance, bereavement support and much more.
www.candlelightersnv.org, phone 702-737-1919
Despite tremendous progress in research, cancer remains the #1 disease killer of children in the U.S. and Canada. The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is an IRS designated 501(c)(3) charity that raises money for childhood cancer research, primarily through head-shaving events. Volunteers, sponsored by family, friends and employers, go bald in solidarity with kids who typically lose their hair during cancer treatment.
Proceeds are granted to the world’s leading childhood cancer research institutions. Since 2000, St. Baldrick’s has united volunteers in one vision — to fund a cure for every form of childhood cancer, and to ensure each survivor has a high quality of life post-treatment.
To get involved, visit our website at www.StBaldricks.org or call 888-899-BALD.