This was taken last month when I got to visit her in New Hampshire before attending a wedding in Rhode Island (accomplishing #1 on my 30 Before 30 List) . If I was less lazy, I would dig through some old photo albums and share some funny pictures of Bridget and I as kids and awkward teenagers. I'd share pictures from summer swim team and Jr. High prom. I'd share pictures of us playing with Play Mobile, and pictures from Halloween Parties. I could also share pictures of us while Bridget was undergoing chemotherapy for Leukemia at the age of eleven. I have a clear memory (and picture) of Bridget when she was over at my house holding a kitten and she is puffy and swollen from all the steroids and drugs that saved her life.
I remember when my mom told me Bridget was sick. It was my first experience with cancer. I remember crying when she said Bridget got a haircut so that she hopefully wouldn't lose all of her hair. You may think that seems really vain of an eleven year old, but I just remember thinking that you had to be really sick for your hair to fall out. I remember sleeping over at her house and watching her older sister inject medicine into the picc line that was inserted in her chest. I can still picture how her hospital room was set up and driving to visit her often during the summer between 4th and 5th grade. My favorite memory, that makes me tear up thinking about, was calling her hospital room one night and she said "can I talk to you tomorrow? My dad is reading to me."
Picturing that Bridget is almost hard to do when I then picture the Bridget I know today. The Bridget who has been cancer free for almost 17 years. Who ran competitive cross country in college and runs marathons with times that most men cannot accomplish. The Bridget who is an engineer, and brilliant, and active, and healthy, and still, after all these years a really good friend.
The reason I share all this is because of this blog I read today. Fellow Monkees may have already seen it. But I wanted to share because it's the last day of September and until I read that post, I didn't know that this month was Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Like the woman who posted her son's story, it just doesn't get enough attention. Just as I feel every October when Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month is hardly spoken about outside the baby loss circles. I get it - there are a million worthy and important causes. And let's keep talking about those and advocating for them. But today is the last day of the month that is specifically for Childhood Cancer. So I just wanted to share. And maybe raise a smidgen more of awareness in the process. (And also because it's a good segue to sharing this article on being pro-vaccine. If you haven't read it yet and joined the herd, I think you should. I think you should for your own children, but also for all the others out there - like my friend Bridget who fought hard enough to reclaim her childhood and her life and I'm so thankful that wasn't further complicated, as it unfortunately is for other kids battling childhood cancer.)
The end. Stepping off soapbox. Momentarily, anyway.