Ronan, you little Spicy Monkey. This is for you and all the other kids who deserve better. Thank you, SpiritHoods for being such an amazing company.

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http://theden.spirithoods.com/ronanthompson/

My letter was nice and it didn’t have to be. The right thing, SHOULD be done. Who gets in the way of kids fighting cancer? That is wrong on so many levels.

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http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2013/10/parents_pressure_van_andel_ins.html

Please feel free to leave your comments below on this article, as others have. I don’t know how the people involved at Van Andel, sleep at night. THEY SHOULD ALL BE ASHAMED OF THEMSELVES AND SHOULD TAKE A LONG HARD LOOK IN THE MIRROR AT THE PEOPLE THEY HAVE BECOME. That’s my 2 cents anyway.

She may not be saying why she left, but she was unhappy and not wanted there. They have very few women faculty. It is pitiful. They dumped Dr. Khoo who is now at GVSU right after Sue Thoms article on her. They also lost Dr. Webb, Dr. Neff. I am sure more defections are to come.

Brundin will be turning this into a European smorgasbord soon. After his euro-locusts have filled their bellies by gorging on easy VAI research cash, they will go back laughing to their still secure jobs in Sweden and elswehere, just like Jeff Trent did.

How many times does David Van Andel have to act like Charlie Brown and run at that football Lucy is holding before he figures out its gonna get yanked and he will fall on his a$$? Get David Van Andel out from being CEO and get a PROFESSIONAL in there. You know someone who knows how to run a science institute? Not a charlatan.

This is how VAI operates. They are hemorrhaging scientists. Their model is broken. New leadership is desperately needed with focused collaborators who have a track record of getting things done. David Van Andel (a non scientist running a scientific research group), Collins, and Brundin are pushing people out.
Nice 3,000 + word article. Very interesting.

Money does strange things to people.

It distressing to read a story like this. To think VAI would stoop to such tricks and omit important information or present that information in a misleading way is shameful to the organization. These parents have made their wishes perfectly clear. That VAI would use it’s size, power and “reputation” to stall the transfer of these donated funds puts the Institute in a very poor light.. To think they would use their high priced lawyers against parents caring for a desperately ill child, just because they can? I feel embarrassed and quite certain VAI is no more confused about the intent for the use of these funds (their claim for withholding the transfer of) than am I. A very un-classy move on the part of the VAI.
As someone that used to be involved with the Van Andel Institute, I can honestly say that ever since Love Collins joined the organization, it has gone downhill. The VAI has lost touch with it’s mission and Love Collins apparently has no concern with right or wrong.
collins is a hired gun for fundraising…..nothing more
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It’s almost Halloween and I would still let you be anything if you were still here

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Ronan. Last week, I got to see the magic that Alexander has put together with the SpiritHoods video. He’s been working like mad on it, and keeping me so very in the loop. When the link finally came through the short version, the one that will air on their website, I took a deep breath as I sat down to watch it. I put Poppy on my lap and she watched with me. The tears were almost immediate. It is 5 minutes of absolute perfection, absolute heartbreak, absolute beauty, and absolute truth. I am so proud and so thankful for people like Alexander who have come into our life. The moment I set eyes on him, I knew he was the perfect person for the job of telling our story in a documentary type of way. I felt so comfortable with him and an immediate connection. I wasn’t wrong. Not only does Alexander feel like a long lost brother to me, it turns out he is insanely talented and I could not be more proud of what it is we have done together. Oh, and he also happens to have a totally kick ass wife who I am equally as in love with. I cannot wait for you all to see this, and then to watch as you all buy up the SpiritHoods like crazy. They turned out so adorable and only Ronan being here to rock it, would make it even better than it already is. I AM SO PROUD.

Last week was an insane week and with foundation stuff pretty much happening around the clock, I knew I needed a small break. Or, more like your daddy knew and pretty much told Dr. Jo that I was coming up to Sedona on Sunday to spend some time with her and do a little eco therapy. I drove up with your Poppy sister in tow. We arrived late on Saturday night and woke up in the morning, ready for to go on a hike through the beauty of Sedona. On our hike, we got into my much needed therapy. We talked about where I am in my grief process and I told her all about my hard week last week where I spent many days, THINKING about doing things like driving off a cliff. I still have those thoughts, although they happen less often. Our little hike turned into a 5 hour massive hike with your Poppy sister on the front of me. We only stopped one time to feed her and let her stretch out. The rest of the time the only sounds we heard from her were the sounds of her coos and giggles. That baby, I tell ya. She is amazingly special. I’ve never known a baby that would go on a 5 hours hike and be happy as a clam the entire time. She is such a sweet, sweet girl. Most of the hike, we talked about this whole grief thing. I told her how I constantly feel like a bunny rabbit, digging a never ending hole, and trying to fill the hole with “stuff” when I know the hole is never going to be filled again. It’s that taste of happiness that I had with you that I so badly want again, but no matter how beautiful this life is, I’ll never get back the happiness that is missing; that being you. I have learned to love my grief, for even as painful as it is, it keeps me connected to you. So, when I am not spending enough time nurturing and sitting quietly with my grief, that is when I tend to get into a bit of trouble, emotionally speaking. Some people want to run away from their grief, but there is no out running this. Your grief will always catch up to you and never gets tired of chasing you. I don’t want to outrun this, but the fact of the matter is, it does become heavy to carry and sometimes hard to manage. That’s when I have to check in with myself and do things like a 5 hour hike with Dr. JoRo. Things like that, help me with all of this.

I have so much going on around here that I don’t even know which way is up anymore. After dropping your brothers off at school in the mornings, I have been making myself take your Poppy sister up our mountain. I know that in order to be productive during my day, I do need to take a little Mama/Ronan time out. This morning I had Poppy on my front and your backpack on my back like I do every time I hike. You know that little backpack from Pottery Barn Kids with your name embroidered on the back of it. As I was coming down, a man passed me. He said, “Is that your son’s name, Ronan?” I was caught a little off guard and but managed to nod my head and give him a smile. He said, “That’s my son’s name, too! He’s 7.” The only thing I could say was, “It’s a great name.” What I really wanted to say is, “You are so lucky to have a 7-year-old Ronan.” I hiked the rest of the way down, feeling sad and trying to imagine what it must be like to have a 7-year-old Ronan, too. That pretty much threw me off for the rest of the day, but somehow I still managed to be productive around here.

Halloween is approaching. Is it really another Halloween without you? I would still let you be anything, if you were still here. Your brothers are all excited and I took them “Booing” the other night with some of their friends. It hurt to be doing such fun/funny things without you. Poppy seems pretty excited about Halloween, too. Today, she asked me to take a pumpkin, carve out the top and some slots for her legs so I could stick her in the pumpkin and take a picture. O.k… so maybe she ┬ádidn’t ask me, but that’s totally what I did to her. She loved it for about 30 seconds, then when she realized she was naked in a pumpkin, she got pretty mad at me. I took her out once she started to protest, but I did manage to get some great pictures out of the Poppy the Pumpkin photo session. It was kind of the cutest thing ever.

Alright little man. I have to sign off for the night. Time for my late night book writing session to begin. I miss you. I love you. I hope you are safe.

xoxo

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