I have a dream. A really, really, really, big dream. I’ve been sitting on this dream for a while, trying to figure out when the right time to announce it would be. I’ve been talking to a handful of people about this dream, but for the most part it’s been kept pretty hush-hush. This is one of the reasons, I’ve been so busy Ronan. I’ve been meeting with so many people for months now. Taking so many trips, having so many meetings, phone calls, and lunches. I’ve been chasing this dream of mine, trying to figure out how I can make it a reality. It all came one night, so clearly, out of the blue. Your daddy and I had been to dinner with some friends of ours. It was a magical dinner where we talked a lot about you and how things are just not changing for this disease. It was a dinner filled with, we know we can change things, we feel the power Ronan has to change this, we know our little boy would want us to do something really huge and big, to impact this world in such a big way. We both left the dinner knowing what needed to be done.
The car ride was quiet on the way home. I was trying to wrap my head around the epiphany that I had just had. I was in our bedroom and your daddy looked at me and said, “Let’s build a World Class Neuroblastoma Research/Care Center.” I couldn’t believe my ears. He took the words right out of my mouth. It was one of those moments where you know with every bone in your body, that you are married to your absolute soul mate in life. I teared up and said, “Let’s build World class Neuroblastoma Research/Care Center.” I had no clue how we were going to do it, but I knew that this was our new secret mission and we were going to figure out how to make this happen.
We started talking about ideas. It needs this, this, and this. Who can help us? I reached out to a small group of people. I was fully prepared for the, “This idea is too crazy and big… what in the world are you doing?” I got a lot of those, but they also came with sides of, “If anyone can do this, it’s you and Ronan.” I have been working non-stop on this for a good 8-months now, trying to put all the pieces together like a puzzle. They have slowly been coming together. I have a list. A very big list. I have a vision and a dream of how this center will look. To me, it is so beautiful and safe. I want to create a safe community for these families, where they don’t feel as if they are just another number. Where they know that they matter and they know they have the best doctors/child-life specialist/volunteers/nurses taking care of them. Where they know they are NOT alone. Where they have someone to hold their hand, all the way through this, even if the worst possible outcome happens and a child dies. They will NOT be thrown out into the street like garbage, never to be checked on again. I have a crazy list of crazy things that will be necessities for the care center part of this. A yoga studio! A go beat the shit out of a punching bag area! A quiet area. A movie theatre! A chapel. A theater where kids can put on plays and perform! An Art area! A kick ass play area! A garden! A music room! My list could go on and on. I WILL give these kids the childhood they are being robbed of. I will give them the life they deserve to live, but are having to live it while fighting cancer. I know I can make this world better Ronan. I know I can. I know you can, too.
This is all I have been doing/thinking about. I presented it to my board a few months ago. I think saw their heads start to spin. I quietly told them that I wanted this to be our new mission and although I didn’t know how we were going to get it done, we were going to get it done. I was told by a Master Yoda of mine, to wait to throw this out into the world. How the timing had to be just right. I had dinner with my Master Yoda a couple of weekends ago. I looked at him after our dinner and said, “How will I know when the time is right, to put this out there?” He just looked at me and said, “Maya, you will know.” I left that dinner telling myself to just trust in myself, you, this universe and when the time was right, I would know.
The time is right now. I know this because of the ways the stars have aligned and the way divine intervention is taking place. I know this is all because of you. I am ready to put this out there. I know what it is, we are going to do. I am going to create the best world possible for a child and a family diagnosed with Neuroblastoma, to be taken care of. I can take the pain of losing you, Ronan, and turn it into something beautiful. For a long time, I didn’t think I was going to be able to do this. For a long time, I was so scared this pain was going to destroy me and everything I had. It was only after the idea of this center came to me, that I figured out how I could survive this. It is by being able to help others in such a way that only a mother who has experienced such a devastating loss, can do so. I can do this in a way that is so different from others. I can take all of my pain and magically spin it into beauty because of the love that I know from you. I made you a big promise when you died. You left me here, knowing I was not going to do something small. I have always known the things that I do for you, are going be huge. I have always known you would lead me to where it is I needed to go. I have always trusted in you to map out this path for me. This is what we were meant to do. This is what we are going to do. This dream doesn’t even scare me, because I know I have you behind me and you won’t let me fail.
I know how hard this is going to be, but it cannot possibly be as hard as living my life without you. If I can do that, I can do anything.
I sent out an email asking my board if they were o.k. with me announcing our new little mission. Their responses left me with tears pouring down my cheeks. One of my board members responded back with, “Just Do It!,” (taken from Nike). Then she wrote back and said, “Or as my dad says, JFDI!” (just fucking do it!) I was crying and laughing all at the same time. I LOVE THEM ALL SO MUCH! I love that they are so behind this! It means everything to me. I had Tricia tell me not long ago that she hadn’t seen me so excited about something, in such a very long time, as I was about this. She told me she knew this was going to happen just due to seeing my passion, excitement, and fire behind it. I loved hearing that from her. I am glad people can still see that in me. It takes a lot to bring it out.
You know those days I disappear, and I don’t write? It’s not because I have dug myself into a hole and I am hiding. It’s because in between grieving, being a wife, mama, trying to be a friend again, trying to find myself a little bit again, I’ve been working on this with everything I have. This is what I want to do for you. This is now, my ultimate goal, besides a cure for the thing that killed you and took you away from me. I will fight until I die, with everything I have, for the rest of my life for this and for you and the other kids who deserve better. I am not going to slink away or disappear. This is my life mission. This is what I was meant to do. I will fix this, Ronan. I promise.
I love you baby doll. I miss you, I love you, I hope you are safe. Thank you for guiding me in everything I do.
P.S. Dear loviest of lovelies,
I hope you know how much I appreciate all your love and support. I hope you know how much I appreciate you sticking by me through all of this because you knew with all of your hearts Ronan was going to do something amazing. This to me seems pretty amazing. This is why I am so thankful, for every dollar you have sent our way. Every penny counts. Especially now. You humble me. You make me want to shoot for the stars. You give me strength and keep me going, on the darkest of days. Thank you so much for loving me in a way that I never knew strangers could love someone. Thank you for loving my little boy so much that it makes you want to be better people. I love that so much. I know this is a big job, but I also know my Master Yoda was right. If anyone can do this, it’s us. I also know that I could not do any of this without all of you. I will forever be grateful for you all. I love you.
Also, please watch Stand Up 2 Cancer tomorrow night. It’s the one night of the year, where we can all stand up together. They are a great organization, doing amazing things.Things have to change and it’s a very powerful show with a very special message for anyone who has been touched by cancer. Thank you.