Megan was a sweet, caring outgoing 6 yr old who was diagnosed with ALL Leukemia in 1st grade. She went through 2 1/2 years of treatment, the last year fighting for her life everyday. She passed away on April 2, 2003 at the tender age of 9. She was greatly loved and she is greatly missed by her family. Megan was a giver. She loved sharing her artwork and baked goods. She loved to dance and sing and entertain. She loved making people happy; bringing special treats to neighbors, her nurses and doctors. She deeply loved animals and little children. She idolized her big brother, copied his every move; wanting to be just like him. She was athletic and independent; climbing the slide ladder by herself at 18 mo, pulling on her brother's roller hockey skates at 3 and riding her bike without training wheels at 3 too; all while trying to keep up with her hero, her big brother. She adored her little sister and was very protective of her; playing dress-up and school; teaching her the way in all things. Three peas in a pod; siblings and best friends.
Our family's battle with Megan's cancer showed me how connected the world is. Even through the toughest time, their is a silver lining; the beauty of human kindness. As we stumbled and fell, our army of friends, family and loved ones picked us up, and help us keep going. Most people will experience some kind of heartache or difficulty in their life. Hopefully not many will experience losing their child, but everyone faces battles that bring suffering, fear, pain or loss. I believe our journey here on earth is NOT meant to be traveled alone. One of the greatest things we can do, something that came so easy for Megan, is Give. Give to those who need a helping hand; give our love, our prayers, our resources, our support to those who need it; our neighbors, our family, our friends and even strangers. Someday, you may be in a position where you need help. Believe me, it's easier to be on the giving end than on the receiving end when you truly need help, but don't know how to ask. The truth is, life can change in an instant, and we all deserve love, support and understanding to help us survive difficult times.
Megan was an old soul. She didn't understand why she was sick, but she accepted it and believed she would get better. She accepted the bad with the good, and just wanted to get back to being a kid again. As a parent, you feel very helpless, but you put your faith in God and the best treatment available to get your child well again. We will never fully understand why current treatments were not able to save Megan; why our little girl was meant for a short life. That WHY will always hurt, but we have come to peace with it. Losing her changed our lives forever leaving a hole that will never completely heal, but starting Megan's Wings allowed us to start healing. Helping other families with bills so they could take some time off work to care for their child felt right, and good. It's difficult to accept the loss of a child and decide to make it something good. I could have crawled in a hole and never came out, the pain was so great. But I knew my family needed me to be strong and Megan deserved to be remembered for her courage, her kindness and her love. I came to accept that we were only meant to have Megan with us for a short time, and I may never know why. But I do feel so blessed and lucky to have had my little girl for nine precious years. One day when we are face to face with God, I hope there are answers why she had to endure such struggles. But I know I can't focus on those injustices. I choose to live a positive, productive life and not dwell on the sadness of why she wasn't one of the lucky ones who beat her cancer. We like to think God had a plan. Megan's life may have been short, but her legacy was meant to be long; to help others witness kindness through strangers, and hope through caring, and community coming together to make someone's life a little easier, someone you may never meet.
Megan’s Wings mission is to assist families with the financial and emotional struggles of childhood cancer. Pediatric Cancer is a family disease. Every member feels its presence because life as they know it, turns upside down. Mom’s gone a lot for treatment and hospital stays with the sick child. Siblings feel confused, lonely and scared. Routines change. Younger siblings don’t understand what’s happening and often act out. Older siblings don’t want to be an extra burden to their parents, so they hide their feelings, often struggling with depression. Children with cancer see way to much sickness and experience death of friends who have the same cancer they have. As if those emotional burdens aren't enough, income also shrinks and cancer related expenses increase as parents face job disruptions while trying to care for their sick child. Financial instability sets in creating much stress and anxiety. Parents face insurmountable fears. The obvious is the fear of losing their child. Along side that is the very real possibility of losing their home, having their utilities shutoff, having to make tough decisions like buying groceries or putting gas in the car to get your child to their next appointment.
It is through our own experience and understanding of what childhood cancer does to a family, and knowing how fortunate we were to have an amazing support system of family, friends, and co-workers who helped us every step of the way, that we chose to start Megan's Wings so no family has to face the burdens of childhood cancer alone. We wished to help those families who didn't have a strong support system and those who struggle to ask for help when they did. We wanted to provide hope and help to families in need and in doing so keep Megan’s legacy alive. As a tribute to our daughter, Megan’s Wings was established in January 2005, twenty months after we lost her. The foundation honors Megan’s memory and the fight she endured by helping other innocent children, like her, who still face this terrible disease. We named the foundation Megan’s Wings because butterflies significantly remind us of Megan. We feel her presence whenever we are fortunate enough to see one. Our family still aches for her presence every day, but her memory rests gently now in our hearts. Knowing we are making a difference in another child’s life when a family gets the worst news of their lives, “Your child has cancer,” brings us a sense of peace. We have shared this very personal information, to allow you to see our passion behind the creation of Megan’s Wings.