Arden talking with Baby Sophie
Friday, May 29, 2009
Arden talking with Baby Sophie
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
"5 years ago I stood at this very same spot – I would be the first Luminaries Chair of the Hixson Relay for Life. During the months preparing for Relay I sent emails, letters and made phone calls. I was certainly just going through the motions of collecting money for the luminaries, writing their names down then transferring that to the actual bags. The night of Relay I was like a chicken with my head cut off, running around crazy. I could not have pulled any of it off without my family, closest friends, Relay Teams and the children from St. Jude School. But that year was totally different from any of the next 3 that I would head that chair. The difference was cancer was just a word to me. A word that had not affected me personally. I stand here 5 years later a completely different person because cancer didn’t care who it struck. It didn’t mean that I didn’t sympathize with every single person who had been affected, because if you know me personally you know I’m a when people hurt I too hurt. I’m a different person because I not only sympathize with each & every person here I can now empathize. I feel your pain, your sadness, your anger; mostly I feel your hope. Cancer has gotten closer and closer to me each and every year after and well this past year was almost unbearable. I lost 3 people whom I dearly cared about in so many ways.
Patsy Clements practically watched me grow up, her son & I shared a friendship & she was there the day I said my vowels as her husband, Larry was the one who married my husband & I. I can remember going to their house for our marriage counseling session like it was yesterday. We might have spent 30 minutes on the actual session and then another 2 hours talking, reminiscing, listening to their stories about what did and did not work for them. Those stories were better building blocks to a marriage then any book you’d ever read. Patsy was diagnosed on February 14, 2008. Cancer did not defeat her – she won & went to be with the Lord on April 16, 2008.
Jim Rogers attended Relay for his first and only time last year. Bonnie & Jim are so dear to my in-laws, to myself and I wanted to so badly for it to be a “good day” for him. He was undergoing chemo at the time and it was attacking his body with a vengeance. It wasn’t a good day for him; it was a great day for. He showed up proud of his bald scalp and appeared even prouder to put on that purple shirt. I had gotten a wheel chair donated for him but he didn’t need it…he hopped right in the front seat, kicking off the survivor lap, in a very cool convertible decked out with a TN paintjob. And if you knew Jim the only thing he loved almost as much as Bonnie was TN Football, but who could blame him right?
And my sweet friend Bonnie Lowery. Bonnie was the first face of AGA I ever met as I pranced in ready for my interview. Smiling face, boisterous laugh and heart of gold. So it only seemed fitting that she was also the last face I saw when I walked out those doors to take another business opportunity. Its hard to believe that working with folks could bring you so close – close doesn’t describe our farmapalooza girls, sisters is more like it. One of Bonnie’s last wishes was to re-create our adult slumber parties, so we did. Sandra & I took vases and vases of fresh flowers to Papaw’s home on the River…Bonnie wasn’t physically strong enough to travel to the farm so we brought the farm to her. We all brought food, cameras and our over night bags….and Papaw left for the night. Bonnie had literally been spending days in the bed, only up for 15 minute intervals to find that it exhausted her and she would then have to return to bed. Her chemo caused her to be incredibly sick and I remember praying and talking to God the whole way down to Suck Creek, just asking for an hour with her. An hour that she could sit with us and laugh like the old times. Honestly only God can be given the credit for that night with her. Not only was she able to shower, put a little make up on but she actually ate and was up with us until almost 2:00 in the morning. That night my very own 14 month old daughter took her very first steps – I missed those steps and I’d miss them again for another night with Bonnie & my farmapalooza girls. Bonnie, at the age of 30, was diagnosed in June 2008 and her suffering ended in September 2008.
Little did we know as we spent that night together, that 4 months later, DiAnne, another one of our farmapalooza girls would be fighting cancer today. She, along with all of you survivors, will continue to battle with the hope we show tonight & with us by your side because until we find a cure for this disease we will Relay. "