Check out the smile on Norrail’s face :)

Norrail at Sunday SchoolIf you are one of the lucky people that has the chance to interact with young Norrail, you will learn a few things. The first thing you will learn is that he is blind (the result of surgery to remove a brain tumor). The next thing you will learn is that he is one of the happiest people you will ever meet!

He doesn’t think that those two facts are in opposition to each other. He looks for reasons to smile no matter what life throws at him and lights up the room every time he walks into it. Take a look at the picture taken of him this past week with his Sister and his Brother at Sunday-School and you will see what I mean!

Please keep him in prayer as he has a few important doctor’s appointments coming up at the American Family Children’s Hospital in Madison. They are checking to see if any of the residue tumor is returning. We are believing with him that it is not and that he will check out all clear. I have a feeling that no matter what news he receives, Norrail will keep on smiling!

12U Softball Team joins the K Cancer Baseball Family!

We are super excited to announce that the K Cancer Baseball family is growing! Coach Chad Norgard has agreed to come aboard and coach the girls 12U K Cancer Softball Team that will compete in a local league as well as representing local childhood cancer patients in area tournaments.

The girls of the K Cancer Softball Team will take part in our awareness events (parades, Airfest, annual toy drive, etc…) and join us on patient visits where we deliver our Care Packages to local pediatric cancer patients and their families.

At K Cancer Baseball we have two goals:

  1. Help local families who are battling childhood cancer
  2. Raise up the next generation of socially conscious state-line leaders

We look forward to working with the girls over the next several years and to the contributions that they will make to the organization and to our community. Welcome aboard!

Weight of the world lifted!

two pics of van work

This might look like a van being lifted off the ground in a car dealerships service department to you, but if you know the story you realize that it is the weight of the world being lifted off a parents shoulders!

Childhood Cancer hits you in so many ways, each one piles on top of the other until you feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders and you can’t shake it off. That is when you need your community.

We are so proud of all the state-line community does to support K Cancer Baseball and our mission. Because of the financial support we have received, we were able to get involved when a social worker from Lurie Children’s Hospital reached out to us about one of our local families that was in a bind. Their little child is suffering from ALL (Leukemia) and is receiving Chemotherapy treatment at Luries. The family vehicle was getting to the point where it wasn’t safe to keep making the drive from our area to Chicago to be with their son. We have the Wolf Dealership in Belvidere is putting in new brakes and a water pump for us!

There is a strength that comes from everyone pitching in and doing their part. When the community decides to get involved and help, its strong enough to lift the weight of the world!

Kevin is home for Thanksgiving!

Kevins last day at Luries

Kevin is home for Thanksgiving! We have so much to be thankful for this year at K Cancer Baseball. There have been so many wonderful people that we have met and come to know over the past year. Last night I was thinking about posting an article this morning and the thought crossed my mind, “How do you narrow down what you are thankful for when there are so many things to be thankful for?”!

Then I woke up this morning and found a text message had arrived with the picture of Kevin with a smile on his face. He was getting ready to leave the Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago where he has been for the last several weeks. He has finished his round of treatment and made it home last night just in time for Thanksgiving!

I think that picture just about says everything. HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Dr. Gorski presents K Cancer Baseball with the Commitment to Caring award!

Dr. Gorski, CEO of Swedish American Health Systems, presented the “Commitment to Caring” award to the 5 Youth Advisory Executive Board Members of K Cancer Baseball this past Friday at their Puttin’ on The Glitz banquet. It was an incredible honor to be selected for this award when you consider the many other organizations in our community who are doing such great work meeting the needs of those in their community who need it the most.

The five young men who walked up to the podium to receive the award were representatives of a growing group of people in the greater Rockford area who have a passion for serving those who are facing challenges related to childhood cancer. I’m thinking of a group of people connected to K Cancer Baseball who heard about a Mother trying to juggle being there for her child in a pediatric cancer hospital with her other children who are in school. They are making meals and delivering them to a family to try to take one care off of her shoulders.

I’m thinking of another group of people who found about about a young boy who had a brain tumor removed and found out that his fight isn’t over. They immediately reached out to us to find out how they can help.

I’m thinking of several student groups within several different schools in our area who found out about what we are doing to bring toys to children in the hospital this Christmas Season and they have taken the project on as their own. I’m thinking of the employee at Kohl’s who is rallying her co-workers to collect toys for the effort as well.

I’m thinking of Dr. Gorski himself, who has personally taken time out of his incredibly busy schedule over the past year to spend time mentoring members of the Youth Advisory Board Executive Council and shortening their learning curve in regards to administering a non-profit.

When the five young men walked up to the stage on Friday to receive the award, they did so on behalf of each and every person who has donated their time, their money, their efforts, their prayers, and their tears to support the families in our community who are battling childhood cancer. If you have ever wondered if your efforts and commitment are noticed or appreciated, this past Friday afternoon the Swedish Health System answered that question. The Community Cares.Award

“It ain’t over, till it’s over!” – Yogi Berra

Gabi at Luries
Sometimes we forget that the battle is not always over when we hear the glorious, “All clear, he/she is in remission!” pronouncement from the Pediatric Oncologist. Kids who face down, and beat, cancer often have challenges come their way (as a result of their treatment or due to the lingering effects of the cancer) that they must keep fighting. 
Every cold or illness is taken seriously. Regular checkups are not optional, they are critical. Keeping a positive healthy attitude is not a luxury, it is mandatory. The continued encouragement and prayers from supportive friends and community members are not nice, they are cherished.
That’s why warriors like Gabi are such heroes. 
Instead of being in school at recess today, Gabi is at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago dealing with on-going complications from her fight with germ cell cancer. Instead of reacting like I would (insert a picture of a big baby sucking its thumb) she is being her regular goofy self! 
It ain’t over till its over, so I might as well enjoy myself as much as I can along the way!

The Christmas Toy Drive is right around the corner!

cropped-collin-tyler-playing-legos.jpg

I know, it’s 60 degrees out, but I wanted to let you know that the K Cancer Baseball Christmas Toy Drive is right around the corner! The last few weeks of November, we will be collecting toys that will be delivered to kids spending their Holidays as patients at Rockford Memorial Hospital and to Childhood Cancer patients in our community.

If you would like to set up a collection location at your place of business or school, send us an e-mail (kcancerbaseball@gmail.com) and we will reach out to you to give you more information!

Remembering

This past Saturday afternoon the K Cancer Baseball crew met up at Martin Park in Loves Park, Illinois to once again support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society as they held their annual Light The Night Walk. The Light The Night Walk is the biggest fundraiser for their organization. The resources they receive during this event provides unbelievable ammunition in the fight to find a cure for blood cancers.

Each year we (K Cancer Baseball) run the kids zone. Youth Advisory Board Members Lucas Domberg and Nolan Zajac project managed the event for us and it went off without a hitch. They had several game stations going throughout the afternoon so that children who were at the event were entertained and enjoyed themselves.

K Cancer Baseball is happy to join hands with like minded organizations who provide resources in our community for those who are in some way battling childhood cancer. At the Light The Night Walk you receive either a white, red, or yellow lantern to carry as you walk the designated path. This year picking out a lantern was more impactful for us as an organization than last year was.

The white lantern is to remember survivors. We have been blessed to have worked with families whose children have completed their treatments and have “Rang The Bell” as they moved from patient to survivor. That is a fun thing to be a part of. Talk about a reason to celebrate! A few of our guys grabbed white lanterns.

The red lantern is to show that you are supporting someone battling cancer now. We consider it a privilege to be arm in arm with several families in our community who are on their cancer journey. Nobody should have to travel that road alone. Several of our guys grabbed white lanterns.

I personally grabbed a yellow lantern. I wish there were no yellow lanterns. I hope I can one day take the last yellow lantern given out. Yellow lanterns are to remember someone who has passed from cancer. I am thinking of a little girl who was taken way too soon earlier this year. It still breaks my heart to think about how the family must feel. Sometimes remembering can be painful. Sometimes you need to feel that again so that you remember why you fight against cancer, why you give of yourself. It might make you push a little harder. It might make you give a little more. It might make you sacrifice to a greater degree.

It’s important to remember…

A Tumor took his sight but not his smile!

Me, Norrail, and his little brother at Ronald McDonald House

I’d like to introduce you to Norrail. Norrail is an AWESOME young man that will make you smile just by being in the same room with him! Norrail recently had surgery to remove a tumor that was impinging upon his ocular nerve. He lost his sight as a result of the surgery. Norrail has not let that stop him, he finds a reason to smile anyway!

I had the pleasure of giving him and his family a ride to the Ronald McDonald House in Madison this past week. Norrail would be having a full day of appointments at the Children’s Hospital the next day. As we were driving there, we stopped at a gas station. I took Norrail in. As we were walking in, Norrail didn’t want to just be guided along. He asked me to tell him where the wall was at. He said that his doctors told him he should learn to feel his way along so he could walk by himself. When finished telling me that and I guided him to a wall, he reached out and when his hand touched the wall he let out with a smile that swallowed his whole face! 🙂

If there was a bubble above his head with his thoughts visible in it, it would have said, “I might have had one world pulled away from me, but I’ve been given a new one to explore!” His tumor took his sight, but not his smile! The family would appreciate it if you would keep Norrail in prayer as he goes through further testing.Me and Norrail at Ronald McDonald House