The day my beautiful daughter Amani was born I prayed, “Help me be a good father to this precious little girl; let me guide her, teach her. And, Lord, when the boys start coming around, please give me patience.”
Seven years later, my wife and I were back at the hospital, clinging to memories of Amani’s sweet birth, as the doctors said, “Your daughter has cancer, a tumor on her kidney.” I can’t describe how it feels to hear those words. We fathers want nothing more than to protect our children. But in these circumstances, what would that mean? I knew I needed to be strong, to comfort my wife and our other daughters. But honestly, I wasn’t feeling strong when I heard those words.
Then they said something I didn’t understand. “You’re lucky,” they told us. “You have something in your community that most communities don’t have. It’s called Jacob’s Heart, and you won’t be alone in the days ahead.” At the time, I had no idea what that meant. But within days, it all became clear.
Jacob’s Heart guided us every step of the way, providing what we needed when we needed it – people to talk to who understood what was happening, information and explanations when we were confused, even gasoline for our car so we could make the countless trips back and forth to the hospital, and groceries when we couldn’t get to the store.
Perhaps most importantly to me, Jacob’s Heart introduced me to Vince, whose son Renzo survived the same kind of cancer Amani had. When we met, I told Vince we were on our way for a scan. Vince, knowing exactly how I was feeling, said, “Oh, you have scanxiety … Every time my son went for a scan I felt that way.” Words fail when I try to describe how comforting it was to be with a father who knew exactly what I was feeling. Vince and I became fast friends, as did our families. Today, with Amani and Renzo both miraculously well, Vince and I are helping other fathers survive their scanxiety, holding them close to our Jacob’s Heart family.
You too are a part of that family, generously making it possible for all of us to benefit from this extraordinary, essential organization. I honestly don’t know how we would have made it without Jacob’s Heart.
Today, I offer my deepest thanks to you, and ask that you join us again by supporting Jacob’s Heart as generously as you can. Together, we’ll be strong for the next child and family. And together, we’ll ensure that no parent walks this road alone.