September is coming…

MLP_7399.jpg

 

Hi my loves,

I know an update is way overdue. I promise to get to that this week. Things are BUSY. So busy. Kid busy. Book busy. Foundation busy. Life busy. SEPTEMBER IS CHILDHOOD CANCER AWARENESS MONTH BUSY. We know how many of you bleed GOLD year-round, but it’s time to step it up for September. We have some exciting things coming up. We will once again be doing our BE BOLD GO GOLD challenge and we hope you will participate as well. In case you need a little reminder of why we do what we do or you just want some facts to scream about, let me remind you…

CANCER KILLS MORE CHILDREN IN THE U.S THAN ANY OTHER DISEASE

80% OF CHILDREN HAVE METASTASIZED DISEASE AT TIME OF DIAGNOSIS

CHILDHOOD CANCER RECEIVES LESS THAN 4% OF U.S FEDERAL FUNDING

Childhood cancer research is vastly and consistently underfunded.

Childhood cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children under the age of 19 in the U.S.

One in 285 children in the U.S. will be diagnosed with cancer by the time they are 20 years old.

Every year, an estimated 250,000+ new cases of cancer affect children under the age of 20 worldwide.

Two-thirds of childhood cancer patients will have long lasting chronic conditions from treatment.

Childhood cancer is not just one disease. It is made up of 12 major types and over 100 subtypes.

So beyond unacceptable. There are so many foundations and people working hard to change this, but the fact of the matter is children are still dying and treatments are still barbaric. Last week, The Ronan Thompson Foundation made a decision. As you know one of our favorite foundations is Solving Kids’ Cancer based out of New York City. We have collaborated with them in the past and believe in everything they are doing. They came to us with an opportunity to help change front line therapy for Neuroblastoma. We have agreed to commit 200k to this project over the next 4 years. We are so inspired and hopeful. We hope you know none of this would be possible without all of YOU and people like our friends over at TIC CUP who last week, raised 38k for us at one of their amazing golf tournaments! We are so excited to put this money to good use and we are forever thankful for the support. We have been able to fund so many incredible things in the past and we are so excited for our next venture with Solving Kids Cancer. Stay tuned for more details.

Also, my dear friend, Samya over at Firedaughter Clothing has been working her ass off to get us ready for September. We will have new shirts and hats available early this week, hopefully by Tuesday or Wednesday.

I promise more of an update later. In the meantime, get your September on!!!

“Children deserve a chance to live. They deserve to have the chance to grow up – something that so many of us take for granted.”

Maya Thompson

https://firedaughterclothing.com

https://solvingkidscancer.org

https://ticcup.com

 

 

Does Childhood Cancer Count As Bullying? Because I Think It Should.

IMG_6650.JPG

So, I’ve been in a little bit of a funk this week. Just off a bit. Feeling angry at the world and at the fuckwad who decided to take my son away from me. Yes, almost 7 years later and I still have times where I am pissed. I want to hide from the holidays. They are still so very hard without Ronan here, not just on me but on all of us. We will go back to Washington because that is my safe place and where we all want to be. My mom will take us all in and wrap us up in her love which includes taking some of the pressure off of me. I will watch 3 of my 4 kids open their gifts on Christmas morning while watching my step-dad wipe the corner of his eyes because Ronan is not with us. This happens every year and every year it is just at gut wrenching as the last. Holidays never get easier and anyone that says they do is full of shit. I want to hide from the world. The only thing keeping me going are my kids (Ronan included) because they are my reminder that I have to be better, stronger and continue to fight for a cause that gets so very little attention.

I watched a bullying thing go viral and every celebrity seemed to step up behind that cause and rally behind one certain child last week. Overnight this cause raised 60k and I’m like where the fuck is that money going? Is it going solve the bullying problem? I’ve “heard” the family plans to donate the money to anti-bullying causes. And yes, that’s great. But the fact still remains that we raised thousands of dollars and pulled together to create amazing memories like movie premieres and sports games and trips…while a child is diagnosed with cancer every 2 minutes… No one ever hears about them. No one seems to care. How is that fair? How have we let that be possible? Why is no one listening?

60k is a lot of money and that amount of money was raised in just one night. 60k in the childhood cancer world could literally help fund a trial that possibly could give a child another Christmas or maybe even another chance at life. This viral video made me want to punch a wall. I tossed and turned in bed and yelled and cried to Woody about the fact that nothing in the world ever seems to go viral as far as childhood cancer goes. Except when Taylor Swift stands up for it but even when she does it doesn’t start a wildfire and get every other celebrity to stand up for it the way other causes do, such as bullying. Why is this? Is it because of the way childhood cancer is “too sad to look at,” as I hear so many people say. Or because people feel like it’s too much reality and they can’t take on a cause that is just “too much reality?”

So many kids are bullied and I understand that it is a serious problem and I’m not here to take away from that. No child should be bullied. No adult should be bullied. I could write a book about all the names I have been called. All the death threats I have gotten and still to this day get. People can be fucking assholes, kids can be so cruel and until parents start doing a better job of raising their kids, bullies are going to exist. It’s our job as parents to teach our kids not to bully in the first place and to also teach them skills to stand up to these bullies. It is also our job to step in and do whatever we need to do to protect our children and any other child who is being bullied. As I said before, I am not trying to take away from this issue, but I would be a liar if I sat here and said that I wish the world of childhood cancer would get the attention it so badly needs because HELLO CHILDHOOD CANCER IS THE NUMBER ONE DISEASE KILLER OF CHILDREN!

And yes, because it killed my child and so many others that I know and yes because I am one very still pissed off mother fighting for a cause that nobody wants to take on… until they find the courage or it happens to them I guess. Sorry, that’s not good enough for me so I’ll just sit here and do whatever I can to continue this fight and right now that means finishing my book, donating all of your hard earned money to clinical trials that are saving lives and being an advocate for the rest of my fucking life because Ronan and so many other kids deserve so much better.

Speaking of other kids, I have someone I want you guys to meet and this is another one of the reasons I’ve had such a riled up week. This is my friend, Ethan. Something about him reminds me so much of Ro. He has Neuroblastoma and started out his treatment at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. I reached out when he was first diagnosed and chatted via email with his mom. I offered support but also told her I didn’t want to overstep my bounds as I am fully aware that being a mom of a newly diagnosed child, our story is a hard one to hear.

Ethan and his family ended up packing up their lives and moving Ethan to Seattle Children’s Hospital as his mom is from the Washington State area. I didn’t hear anything from his mom for about eight months, until last week. Last week she reached out and asked if I would be willing to talk to her. Of course I said yes and talk we did. For hours. And since then there has been more talking and texting and I can’t stop thinking about Ethan and their family and I feel so helpless.

I am heartbroken for multiple reasons. Ethan is doing well. He is responding to treatment but they have a long road ahead of them and he has been through so much. Both of his parents are professionals. Ethan’s father has a law degree and Sabina, his mom was a professor at Arizona State University, but because of the toll this disease takes in every way, they stand to lose everything. I keep going back to that 60k that was raised for the kid who was bullied and I am standing back watching this family fight for the life of their child while trying to figure out how to put food on the table.

There’s enough empathy to go around–we can not want kids to be bullied AND want to solve cancer for kids. But with one viral video, this kid’s life has changed. Meanwhile, kids like Ethan are going through horrific cancer treatments, missing out on being a normal kid, while his family is struggling to even pay their normal bills, let alone the cost of cancer treatment.

If kids like Ethan got half the attention of that viral video, it wouldn’t just make them feel special. It could literally save their life. That’s what people keep missing. It isn’t about likes and shares and popularity…but when it comes to childhood cancer, awareness DOES save lives. It doesn’t just make you feel good for awhile. It can create new treatments, keep families together as they travel all over the country trying to save their kid’s life, and keep a child from dying.

THAT’s why it matters. That’s why sharing posts and spreading the word and fundraising counts. That’s why I’m sitting here, looking at 3 kids playing together when it should always be 4, wondering why the world stays silent on childhood cancer.

Sometimes I wonder if people had been more outspoken about childhood cancer sooner, if I’d still have my son. What if we’d crowdfunded for the treatment that could’ve saved him?

This Christmas, I can’t buy my Ro presents. I can’t see him open presents with his brothers and sister or eat breakfast Christmas morning. A holiday card has long gone out the window for our family–because our family isn’t complete without Ronan. But here’s what I can do: I can keep screaming for families like Ethan’s. I can teach my kids bullying is wrong AND fight to save lives. I can work as hard as I can until people start listening.

So, if you’re going to share something viral on Facebook, I’m begging you: Let’s make it this. Ethan is 6 and loves Star Wars. His family is struggling. They need us: https://www.gofundme.com/littleethan

And if you don’t want to donate to his go fund me page, please flood him with whatever support you can. You can send cards, gifts or gift cards here:

22510 93rd Place West, Edmonds, WA 98020

Please share this post with everyone you can. If you live in the Seattle area, please email me if you have any connections to make this guys life a little bit easier.

mayawoody@gmail.com

You can also follow Ethan’s progress on his caring bridge page:https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/littleethan

Thank you all for still being here. Thank you for anything you can do for Ethan and his family.

IMG_6530.jpeg

 

Because of you, I can do hard things.

IMG_3728Ronan. Remember that time that I said I was going to actively start writing on this blog again and then months went by without me writing a word? Me too. This life without you feels like I’m on a non-stop hamster wheel that I cannot seem to get off of.

Everything is so busy. And in between busy I’ve been working non stop on this book that I just cannot seem to let go of because in my mind, it’s never going to be good enough. I am constantly second guessing myself, but day after day I continue to write and put in the work. Any free time I have belongs to your book. And by free time I mean waiting for the oil to get changed in my car, waiting for an appointment, sitting in a parking lot in between school drop offs… my laptop is out and I am writing. And when I am not writing, I am writing in my head or in the notes section on my phone or in the 1 out of 7,000 notebooks or journals that I carry around with me at all times. The only time I can seem to quiet my mind is at the 80 minute hot yoga class that I have been taking which is currently saving my life. And even when I am there, I have to actively force my mind to shut the fuck up. I know I went insane a long time ago but this kind of insane, the one where you are reliving your real life worst nightmare all over again by writing the story down is a totally different type of beast. It is this self inflicted kind of torture that should have killed me by now, but because I am so stubborn I refuse to let it. I’ve stopped and started this book so many times. I’ve hated it. Erased words. Ripped up pages and thrown them in the trash. Re read my words and sobbed because sometimes I can’t believe they are my own and sometimes I can’t believe how good they are. I’ve hated myself. Loved myself. Been so proud of myself but I also have that layer of self doubt that always seems to be lingering about. The only thing keeping me going is your sweet little face that I see at the end of the finish line. This is for you. All of my blood, sweat, tears, vomit…. all of my self doubt because who the fuck am I?

I am not a writer.

Today, I had one of those days where I cried over everything. I had some stupid errands to run but it was the type of day where everything felt hard, even just a simple trip to the UPS store. I was feeling overwhelmed, a little sorry for myself and I was truly just missing you. A few days ago my agent put me in contact with someone who said she could help take a look at this book. I had a phone call with her and she agreed to take a look at things. I told her I would send her everything but I warned her that it was still really messy and asked her to please ignore all holes that needed to be filled in.

As I was pulling out of the UPS store where my mind was so foggy that I seriously lost my car keys for 35 minutes before finding them in a weird part of my yoga bag that apparently eats keys, I got a text from the person I had sent my book to. It said:

“Maya. Reading and crying and crying and reading. You are a fantastic writer. It needs a little polish but it is so raw and articulate.” 

As I read her words, my stomach dropped and I had to pull over. I read her words over and over again as the tears poured down my face. Hearing those words from this stranger today, who lives in the literary world meant everything to me. You know what I decided today, Ronan?

I am a fucking writer and I have the most heart wrenching, beautiful story to tell all because of you. I think deep down I’ve always been a writer but it was you who led me here. I am trying my hardest to make you so very proud and I promise to finish what I’ve started. I am so very close. Thank you for constantly pushing me through this process. Because of you, I can do hard things and I can do them well, even when I think I suck.

I love you so much.

G’nite, little man. I miss you. I love you. I hope you are safe.

 

Insomnia and New York

IMG_2409-1-4014683757-1510564761300.jpg

 

Ronan. I still don’t sleep well. Six years later and you’d think I’d have this under control  by now, but I don’t. I honestly don’t think I’ll ever sleep well again. I used to make myself black out with Ambien. I stopped doing that years ago because I swear it made me suicidal. More so than I already was. So now when I can’t sleep I lie awake and think about all the reasons I can’t sleep…the biggest one being because of the absence of you.

And my usual questions.

Where are you?

Who is taking care of you?

Why isn’t it me?

Are you ok?

Are you still trying to find me the way I am always trying to find you?

I toss and turn and cry and scream in my head. I listen to make sure Poppy is breathing because yes I still co-sleep with her because it’s the only way I can make sure she doesn’t die in her sleep. I check on your brothers, too. I wander up and down our hallway. I sometimes read. I try to stay off of my phone because that only stimulates my mind. Sometimes I work on my book during these early morning hours. I think about you so much and how everything still hurts. Every part of me aches for you. I have some things that comfort me… but mostly I just continue to suffer. Especially during the nights when all things are still and quiet, except for my restless mind.

I went to New York for our Runway Heroes Fashion Show a couple of weeks ago. I took Liam and Poppy with me. We had around 20 kids who either have cancer or are in remission walk in it. All of those kids and then there was your sister, Poppy. She walked down the runway in honor of you. I wasn’t sure how she was going to do. She refused to show my her “runway” walk saying it was a surprise and I wouldn’t get to see it until the day of the show. At four years old, she is so sassy and bright. I often feel as if I am dealing with a teenager. I sat on the edge of my seat as she came down the runway towards me. She looked so proud up there and as if what she was doing was so important to her. There was no way I could stop my tears from falling as I watched not only her, but all the other kids as well.

This all started because of you. So many incredible things in this world are because of you, Ronan. I met a woman at the Runway Heroes who was running the New York City Marathon the very next day in honor of you. She raised almost 6k and I have to tell you, things such as that keep me going more than I think anybody knows. I was so in awe of her the way you had inspired her to do such an incredible thing. You are still helping people and pushing people to continue to live their lives doing the most amazing things. Val talked a bit in her blog about how it was you that carried her though the finish line. 26.2 miles all because of one little boy who is still not done changing the world. I am so proud to be your mom.

Poppy told me after the fashion show that being in it was one of the most special days of her life. I told you she is not from this world. She understands things with such depth and soul. Liam told me that he was so glad to finally see what the Runway Show was all about because it’s all I talk about for months before hand. He told me how he knew you would be so proud of it. I was so thankful to have him there with us. The three of us had a great time, I missed Quinn like crazy but he was back home playing basketball. Liam took the weekend off and I know the time in New York was so good for him. I took him back to Delizia’s where we used to eat pizza. We talked about being there with you. He told me he remembered everything about being there with you. Poppy had a million questions.

“Where would you sit, with Ronan mama?”

” What would Ronan order?”

“How many times would you eat there?”

“Did Ronan like pepperoni or would he just eat cheese pizza like me?”

“Did he have hair when he would come here or was he bald?”

“Why didn’t the medicine make him better?”

“Is he sad that he isn’t with us?”

The quesitons went on and on. I answered them all without crying. I felt like you would be happy that we were back there and because of that I was o.k.

It’s 2 a.m. I have to be up soon. I miss you. I love you. I hope you are safe. I will write again soon.

I love you, Ro.

 

Sometimes the stars align in the most magical ways

Ronan. I underestimate myself. I always have. I probably always will. I think I do this for a few different reasons. I think I do it as a way to try to protect myself from being hurt or let down. I think I do this because of the abandonment issues that I have with my father. I think I also do this because it motivates me to work harder. Whatever it is that I am doing I pour everything I have into it, but I do so with the mentallty that it will never be good enough. I kind of live this life where I expect the worst but hope for the best. I expect the worst by I try my hardest. And I love the little moments like last night where I go into a situation expecting all of my worst fears to come true but the opposite happens and I am shell shocked surprised…
Last night I raced out of the house to meet up with a friend of mine who I don’t know super well, but she has been behind the scenes for many years, rooting for me and helping me with some big things in the world of childhood cancer. She has been a steady and consistent force in my life that is happy just to stand on the sidelines, cheering away and helping with some really incredible things without needing or wanting to be in the spotlight. I love those types of people so much. On my drive over, your Mr. Sparky Eyes called me. (Told you, he still knows everything including the perfect time to call) I pick up, of course.

“How are you my darling.”

I fill him in on some basic things that happened during the day. I guess he could hear the hesitation in my voice.

“What’s wrong? You sound distant.”

He still knows me better than anyone in my life and I swear you still secretly communicate with him.

“I’m sorry. I’m not being distant, I’m just driving to meet up with my friend that I told you about. The girl that I told you about who offered to read my book if I wanted another opinion and another set of eyes to take a look at things. I’m just so nervous. What if she tells me it’s total garbage? What if I don’t know what I am doing and I actually don’t know how to write at all? What if my words don’t make her feel anything and I have to start completely over? I know I keep trying to explain to you how hard this book has been for me to write. How my blog came so easily to me but this book is an entirely different beast. I am not a trained professional! I didn’t go to school to be a writer. I don’t actually know what the fuck I am doing.”

He is laughing at this point. Side note: He has never read my blog.

“Listen, you know I haven’t read your blog and you know all of the reasons why. You know that I don’t feel as if I can read your book until you are finished with it and you know all of the reasons for that as well. I can’t be the one to tell you if you if you are a good writer or not because that is not the role I want to play in your life. You have other people to do that. You need to just go into this meeting with a positive attitude and an open mind and do not take any criticism personally. This isn’t personal. This is hard work. So you take whatever she tells you and use it constructively. You take whatever she tells you, listen and finish this fucking book already. I need to read it before I am dead.”

I hate when he says that last part because I can’t imagine being able to get through this life without him.

“I am listening to everything you have said, except for that last part. I’ll text you when I am done.” I hang up my phone just in time to see a text message from my literary agent, Nena.

HI! HOW ARE YOU?! CAN YOU CHAT TONIGHT? CAN’T WAIT!”

My Nena is a little firecracker that doesn’t stop. So much so that it can be hard for us to connect and the fact that I get this random text from her at 6:30 on a Wednesday night when we had no plans to talk makes it feel as the universe is singing to me. I just got off the phone with your Sparkly, Nena texts just as I am getting ready to meet my friend to go over my book? Talk about the stars aligning, I swear…

I call her as soon as I get to the restaurant and sit in the car to listen to all of the feedback she has for me. I had mentioned to her a few days prior that I was meeting up with someone who offered to take a look at my book just to make sure she was o.k. with that. She was and was actually really excited about it. I listen to all of feedback that Nena has for me and she is so enthusiastic and so complimentary that at one point I think to myself, “Wait… maybe I am actually a good writer and I don’t suck!” Nena doesn’t think I suck. She actually called me the next Elizabeth Gilbert… wait what? She actually said to me, “You have no idea what a raw, unique voice you have. Maya, I’m telling you I haven’t seen a young, budding author like you in a very long time and I know this is the beginning of many, many books for you. You have such a gift. You are an incredible writer.”

Mic drop.

I went into meet Stephanie with a little more bounce to my step. “I don’t suck, I don’t suck, I don’t suck.”

We sat down for dinner.

“Should we dive right into it?” she says.

Let me just remind you, Stephanie is not only someone who I consider a friend, but she is also someone I have always completely looked up to. She is beyond fucking intelligent. She is a mother of 2 young kid AND also a professional power house. She has an amazing husband, job and life. Her opinion means so much to me.

I feel myself getting nervous for a split second as I take a deep breathe and hold it until she starts talking…

More later, little man. I have to run to get Poppy from school.

I miss you. I love you. I hope you are safe.

xoxo

4 year old things

b654fdc7fdf5bf6bad76b6f68bc85beb-1.jpg

 

 

Ronan. You are not 4 and you are not here.

I am so aware of the fact that you never got the chance to turn 4 and it haunts me daily. Because of this I often feel as if I live in a world where I am complety consumed with the fact that Poppy is 4. This age of 4 is so precious to me and it hurts on a level that is such a complex mixture of beauty and pain.

You didn’t get to turn 4 but you almost did.

You didn’t get to turn 4 but your baby sister did.

I threw her a 4th birthday party complete with barn yard animals and all. I sang her “Happy Birthday,” helped her blow out her candles and it was impossible not to think of you. I smiled through my tears. I loved on her and held her tightly all through out the day. I cried myself to sleep once her party ended and she was safely tucked away in bed, sound asleep. I woke up the next day with an emotional hang over the size of Donald Trump’s ego, but somehow did the day and did it well just like I manage to do most days now. Not all days, but most.

I am aware every day while walking Poppy in and out of school that I never got to hold your little 4-year-old hand, but I am holding hers. Her hand feels extra sweet to me. Extra delicate like at any moment it could be taken away. The loss of you has made me hyper sensitive to all of her 4-year-old moments. Her 4-year-old lips that I am so lucky to kiss. Her 4-year-old hair that I get to brush. Her 4-year-old laugh that I get to hear. I savor it all, even when she is sooooo sassy that I want to pull my hair out. Every second with her is so precious and I know a lot of that is because I never got to have any of those 4-year-old moments with you.

I wonder if it will always be this way with her or if it’s just this way now because you were so close to turning 4. Either way the loss of you continues to impact me daily even though it has been over six years since your death. Time heals all wounds will always be such bullshit to me. Maybe some wounds aren’t meant to be healed. And that doesn’t make me weak, it makes me stronger than I ever knew I was capable of being.

I’m writing at my favorite book store tonight and a little girl who looks be about 10 just walked by me, gave me a smile and her head was completely bald. I’m having one of those moments where I’m like, “Is this real life or just a dream?” It’s real because I can taste my tears and feel the pinch I just gave my arm. I think I’ll go home now.

G’nite, little man. I miss you. I love you. I hope you are safe.

xoxo

Get your gold on!

FullSizeRender.jpg

These are going to fly so get your orders in! For each of the shirts, you can select the option of having the foundation logo on the back. Also, you have the option of having a different design on whatever shirt you fancy. Happy Gold shopping, my loves!!

http://firedaughterclothing.com/shop-fd/#!/Go-Gold-for-Childhood-Cancer-Awareness-2017/c/24781336/offset=0&sort=addedTimeDesc

Guys!!It’s September! Let’s make this one the goldest one yet!!

 

 

 

21272491_1429892257045805_6154595386767398112_nSeptember is here and it’s time to kick and scream and fight cancer for kids. Get your GOLD on! We’re kicking off Childhood Cancer Awareness Month with a bang & a sparkle! Throughout September, we’re turning ourselves into spicy, gold human billboards for childhood cancer awareness and want YOU to join us!

Donate here: https://ronanfoundation.org/campaign/3LKR2XK4
Buy merchandise here: https://beboldgogold.itemorder.com
Deck yourself out in GOLD and talk to people about childhood cancer! (take photos, of course and tag #BEBOLDGOGOLD)