Today started like any other. I woke up to the embrace of my sweet 3 year old who likes to start the morning by petting my hair. We woke up, I had coffee, fed my boys breakfast and hit the day with a running start.
I was blissfully unaware that today was any different from another.
I got to work, turned on my computer and there it was… my Facebook memory from 5 years ago today.
February 13, 2013 was the day Olivia was supposed to have her last day of chemo ever.
It was the day that was supposed to re-define our lives. After 7 long months of chemo, MRIs, hospitalizations and nonstop cancer, we were supposed to start living normally.
I felt such joy on that day. I was smiling from ear to ear as I loaded up our stroller and pushed my daughter out of the Cancer & Blood Disorders Center at Children’s Hospital Colorado.
The nurses and doctors were smiling. We all wanted this to be the turning point in Olivia’s life where cancer no longer got to hold her captive.
But it wasn’t.
Our lives were turned upside down again just 4 months later when Olivia’s cancer returned with a vengeance. And with that February 13, 2013 became a sad memory. It was just a short reprieve rather than a new beginning.
In reality Olivia would eventually have her last chemo ever, but not in the way I had hoped for. Her very last chemo treatment would take place on October 17, 2013, which was also the day I found out she was going to die.
I hate childhood cancer. It took my daughter. It took everything.
Olivia’s fight is over. But mine is just beginning. I will do whatever I can to find the cure that wasn’t there for my baby. I may not be able to re-write Olivia’s story, but hopefully I can help another family get a different ending.
The Olivia Caldwell Foundation is a 501c3 nonprofit that raises money for pediatric cancer research in memory of Olivia Caldwell, who passed away from brain cancer in October 2013 at just 20 months old. To date we have given $225,000 to pediatric cancer research. You can learn more and donate by visiting www.oliviacaldwellfoundation.org.