Dear Empire State Building, Part 13


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Dear Empire State Building,
I would first off like to say I am writing this letter from the bottom of my heart, the depth of my soul and to express my push for Pediatric Cancer Awareness, research and funding which comes down to me being on board for and with #empiregogold.
A few years ago I was diagnosed with a slew of chronic health conditions which left me in a place I never had been before. Not only was it dark and twisty but it was lonely and quite possibly the worst place I have ever been. One night I stumbled upon Maya’s blog and fell in love with one of the most heartbreakingly beautiful love stories I have yet to encounter, at that point however I was hopeful, and for the first time in the months felt that. Within a day I got caught up on her blog and continued to follow her fight for her son every day, but more so follow the life of a not even 4 year old who was so perfect in every way. As I followed their story I found myself learning lessons I did not even know I needed to learn. Slowly I learned it was okay to not be okay, it was okay to cry, to scream, to swear and rely on people for support. I learned the importance of life as a whole, how precious and fleeting it is. But most of all I learned about love and how if love alone was strong enough, Ronan would still be here today, spicy as ever. While I followed their story, I was amazed at Maya’s blunt honesty and Ronan’s spicy loving heart. I found myself smiling at pictures of this little boy, beautiful and bald as he played with his star wars figures, as he despite fighting for his life every day continued to smile, laugh and love all while causing mischief and opening his heart to all who crossed his path. I in return found myself following by lead, taking life advice from a 3 and a half year old and also believing in miracles.
When you see billboards or ads on TV for hospitals you see bald kids smiling, laughing and singing uplifting songs, but that is so far from reality it actually hurts. While I followed Ronan as he fought like hell I learned of brovaric dressings, barbaric outdated treatments, missing eye lashes and that these children that are being thrown into a war they did not sign up for. They are losing their hair when they should be learning their ABC’s. They are laying in agony begging their parents to make it stop, to save them when they should be playing with their older brothers or spilling chocolate milk. The reality of childhood cancer is not only ugly, but it is horrific and beyond tragic while leaving parents and siblings in its wake, lost and the world at loss of what to say about the beautiful boy who died.There is no peace you can take from that. There is no solitude in the fact these children are stolen from their own lives or have gained “angel wings”. What does that even mean? How can a 3 year old have earned wings? Society says these things because THEY are uncomfortable with reality but until we face it nothing will ever change.
When Ronan died I felt like I lost someone close to me, I cried as I read Maya’s posts and ask why? WHY is this happening, why are people not screaming from roof tops at how messed up this is. WHY are more people not angry? Why are we not doing everything we can to help these kids who are our future get a chance to see past their 10th Birthdays? Why are people still looking at Pediatric Cancer like its sunshine and rainbows and they are in a better place? WHY is this acceptable?
As I myself grieved for not only Ronan but his mother Maya, his father and brothers I started doing more research, I started trying to figure out how can I make an resemblance of a difference. I was sickened to learn that Pediatric Cancer receives the least amount of government funding, that they have developed only 2 new protocals for treatment in the past 20 years for these kids while still using modified adult treatments leaving them in horrific shape if they do survive.
Ronan was more than a boy with Neuroblastoma to me; he was this beyond wise child who faced every day with strength beyond comprehension and love without measure. In my life I have faced not only my own mortality with my heart stopping 6 times but I have witnessed death of the old and young and it’s not easy either way .With Ronan however, knowing that it was because of lack of medical knowledge, lack of funding and lack of overall treatments that aided in his death left me beyond words.
I hope you are still reading this Empire State Building, I hope you are thinking about the beautiful little boy with the most stunning blue eyes who died days before his 4th birthday because of lack of awareness and treatments. By lighting the tower gold for one night, you are not only showing those who are still fighting so courageously that you support them, but you are showing that those who have lost their fight are not forgotten. That the families who are grieving are not forgotten. That those children did not go unnoticed for their ferocious battles but most of all That you yourself support Pediatric Cancer and will not let it go unnoticed because it’s not pretty, that you will help us be seen for the entire world. So that Gold never goes unnoticed again.
Thank you for your time and patience while reading this letter.
This is for Ronan Thompson and his Mother Maya who have both made me a better person inside and out as I learned the true meaning “All good things are wild and free”.
With sincere appreciation of your time,

Ashley Graydon

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One thought on “Dear Empire State Building, Part 13

  1. Elizabeth Glenn

    Ashley, this is a beautiful post. You put into words what I feel in my heart. I don’t understand how a corporation could turn their back on this children. I know that Maya and Ronan are proud.

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