Gratitude

As rough as the last few months have been—and as rough as Kohen’s rehabilitation and continued chemotherapy will be—we’ve been granted opportunities that remind us others have it far worse than we do. 

Like the little girl at the hospital (no more than two years older than Kohen) who has no legs below the knees and no arms beyond the elbows. Or like the parents who are spending weeks and months in the hospital waiting and hoping for an organ donation so their child’s life can be spared. Or the little kid across from Kohen’s room in ICU who passed away. 

All of these examples served to keep us from wallowing in pity for our own family’s plight, and they reminded me of the story about the man who lamented his lot in life because he was too poor to buy shoes, until the day he saw the man who had no feet.

This brings me to the subject of gratitude.

My wife and I are grateful beyond words for the mercy God has shown us throughout this ordeal, even during the times of greatest darkness and despair. It’s been a mercy we neither expected, nor deserve. 

In this spirit of gratitude, we wanted to take a moment to extend our gratitude to everyone who’s played a part in Kohen’s recovery so far. We are nowhere near done, but so many individuals and organizations have come together to assist us, it’s been a tremendous sight to behold. 

However, I’ve been fearful about doing this because I know I will leave someone out. It’s almost better to not publish this post than to unintentionally fail to mention even one person, but I trust if I neglected to mention you, you will forgive me and understand that our lives have been a whirlwind lately. There have been so many people who have helped and encouraged us, and in the chaos that has been our life for the past four-and-a-half months, sometimes our attempts at thanking each of you individually (and in this post) slips through the cracks. Please know our hearts and intentions are pure in this endeavor, and forgive us if we’ve forgotten you.

Thank you to all the family, friends, coworkers, and total strangers who have donated to help Kohen and alleviate some of the expenses of this ordeal for our family. The burden you have helped ease will never be forgotten.

Thank you to those who have taken on the task of watching our other children while we’re in Utah, as well as when Kohen and mommy are in chemotherapy and daddy has to go to work.

Thank you to those who have coordinated fundraisers on Kohen’s behalf, including Deacon Carlo & Debbie Managlia for hosting a fundraiser dinner, and Melissa Thomson for the “Kohen’s Warriors” t-shirt fundraiser. 

Thank you to those who’ve spread the word about Kohen’s plight, and thank you to those who’ve purchased the “Kohen’s Warriors” t-shirts.

Thank you to all the families who have provided meals for our family.

Thank you to all the doctors and nurses at Renown Hospital in Reno, Nevada who helped Kohen through his first 1/3 of Chemotherapy treatments.

Thank you to Dr. Jones and his staff at Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah for successfully removing the tumor from Kohen’s femur, and for the rotationplasty surgery that will allow him—with the aid of a prosthetic—to one day walk again, and live a normal life.

Thank you to the Ronald McDonald House Charities (our home away from home) and their wonderful staff for making our burden that much lighter while in Utah.

Thank you to all the families, groups, and organizations who made meals for all the families staying at the Ronald McDonald House.

Thank you to the Hartford, Connecticut SWAT Team for the gifts for Kohen (and making him an honorary SWAT member). 

Thank you to the Beverly Hills Police Department for the challenge coins

Thank you to Helping Hands and the Joshua Farler Foundation (both in Yerington, Nevada) for your donations.

Thank you to the Brooks Foundation of Reno, Nevada for your donation. 

Thank you to the Kiwanis Club of New Orleans for your donations.

Thank you to the Utah law enforcement agencies for all the swag, including the Salt Lake City Police Department, South Jordan PD, Herriman PD, and the Salt Lake City FBI. 

Thank you to Aimee Carr for all the hard work you did in procuring all the aforementioned Utah law enforcement paraphernalia.

Thank you to the Philadelphia schools for their gifts, cards, and encouragement from the students.

Thank you to the Northern Nevada Children’s Cancer Foundation in Reno for all the financial support as well as all the technical support to assist us in navigating these unfamiliar waters (that have now become all too familiar to us).

Thank you to the Paterson, Powers, and Grimm families for helping to make our holidays brighter. 

Thank you to the employee from the Moran Eye Center in Salt Lake City who bought my lunch when I got lost in her building.

Thank you to the Give Hope Foundation of Northern Nevada for their generous donation.

Thank you to the Tic Toc Diner, Mr. Roos, Acropolis Restaurant, and Spudley’s Super Spuds for the donation boxes in their respective Louisiana establishments.

Thank you to the Louisiana State Troopers (A & B) and the Nevada Highway Patrol for the police swag. 

Thank you to the East Jefferson Business Assoc., Living Water, CBD Wealth Management, A-1 Signs, CBT Construction, Entrepreneur’s Source, Elm wood Storage & Wine Cellar, Jefferson Parish Performing Arts, Bavarian Wealth Management, N.O.Vative Printing, and Jefferson Republican Pachyderm, all of the great state of Louisiana.

Thank you to the anonymous cop who sent Kohen his State of Ohio Combat Cross medal, stating that he wanted Kohen to have it because Kohen is “fighting harder than I ever did.” 

Thank you to Dawnbusters Kiwanis of Louisiana for their generous donations.

Thank you to the numerous police agencies throughout the nation and the world (too many to list here) who also sent patches, shirts, challenge coins, cups, and other swag for Kohen. 

Thank you to the members of Fellowship Bible Church of Carson City for their continued support and encouragement.

Thank you to Parkside Bible Fellowship Church and Logos Christian Academy, both of Fallon, Nevada, for their generous donations and delicious meals.  

Those I’ve mentioned above and those who I’ve failed to mention (please forgive me), have helped us more than you may ever know, and I well up with emotion when I consider how much Kohen is cared for and how much time, money, and resources people have sacrificed on our behalf. We couldn’t have done it without all of you.

When this trial began it was my intention to repay everyone who donated to help us, but it quickly become so much, so fast, that I’ve had to concede that there’s no way I could ever repay you all. However, during this ordeal our eyes were opened to the world of cancer sufferers that–to my shame–had been under our noses all along; we just never realized it. But now we are cognizant of this subculture of suffering, and as soon as we get through this we’ll begin doing our part to pay all your generosity forward for future families that will be enduring this ordeal . . . but who just don’t know it yet.

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you!

6 thoughts on “Gratitude

  1. Roberta Rosario

    It’s been a blessing to watch God provide & grow your faith as He will continue to do so in all of you & even in some of us. You don’t have to repay anyone, it’s already been taken care of by the blessings of our Savior. This is what we are called to do, love one-another. We love you & will continue to pray for you all through this trial. May God continue to increase in each of your lives & mine too. God Bless You

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  2. Starla smith

    Praying for you every day precious boy😘
    You are so strong and just amazing ! And you are pretty Handsome too with those awesome dimples🎈🎈🎈🎈🎈
    Be happy and have fun with your brothers and sisters 🎈🎈
    We love you, Uncle Jerry and Aunt Starla😘

    Like

  3. Violet Inez

    Praise the Lord! I’m so glad to hear all of this as I’ve done a lot of praying for all of you. May the Lord continue to pour out His grace and mercy toward all of you!

    Like

  4. Starla Smith

    It’s just amazing at all the wonderful caring giving people and organizations, etc
    Sweet Kohen, you are so loved. Uncle Jerry and Aunt Starla love you very much.
    You are a strong little man😘♥️🎈🎈🎈🎈🎈

    Like

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