A friend in need: Luke’s journey

I met my friend Brandi Johnston in those first few hours of my freshman year at college. She listened to me talk non-stop about a “Doug Bowman” for a solid two years, then occasional mentions of him for the last 16 years. How’s she still my friend, I’ll never know! I cherish Brandi because she is an amazing person, someone I wish I could be like. Some of my best college memories are with, and because of, her.

Today, Brandi has four amazing kids and lives in Idaho. She’s been a stay at home mom for almost 9 years now. She’s one of “those” moms who throws the best birthday parties and bakes the most amazing cakes! I’ve suggested to Brandi that I should fly her to our house to bake Emma’s birthday cake! She has a very busy life keeping her kids happy and healthy. Haley is almost 9, Luke and Logan are 7-year-old identical twins, and Hannah just turned 5. Even when you give 110% to your family, sometimes that’s still not enough.

Luke (one of the identical twins on the far right above) was diagnosed with neuroblastoma cancer in 2007. He’s a fighter, just like his mom. He went through treatment, and he’s been cancer free for the last two years. Until last week, when Luke’s cancer returned, and is now showing up in his bone marrow. Update 12/5/2010: Brandi is now faced with either starting chemotherapy treatment to prolong Luke’s life, or enrolling him in a trial treatment somewhere else in the U.S. Not a decision any mother should ever need to face, let alone a mother of a 7 year old boy.

Added to the stress of cancer, Brandi hasn’t had the best of luck lately. Her house recently flooded, so she and her four kids are living in a single hotel room until they can move back into their home, hopefully before Christmas.

You can read about and follow Luke’s journey at Caring Bridge.

We would like to help Brandi and Luke in some way. Doug and I know she would do all she could do to help us if we were in her place. We know the holidays are around the corner, and money is tight for everyone. But it’s even tighter for Brandi, and she and her family are faced with another tremendously difficult time. We’re putting together a small fund, hoping to make the holidays a little easier for her. If you have any additional funds you could donate, please use the PayPal donate button below. We’ll add everything together (100% of donations), and send it all to Brandi after December 10th. We’re asking our friends and family to help in any way they can, because Luke’s condition weighs very heavily on our hearts.

If you’re not comfortable donating to an individual family, we ask that you’d consider donating to the American Cancer Society in hopes that their research will be able to benefit others in similar situations to little Luke.