On going to a Virtual Ball (Day 16)

 If you told me one year ago, that I'd be attending a virtual Ball, I'd tell you, "No, thanks."

But here we are, January 2021--10 months and change into a global pandemic that made every last thing virtual, including the Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation Lemon Ball. 

For our family and our children, especially, the Lemon Ball is a much looked forward to event--we dress up, we stay overnight in the city, there is dancing and Shirley Temples (and cocktails!) and most of all, there are our friends--who are really our family. They aren't our neighbors or life long pals from high school and college, these friends are totally different---they are the only people in the entire world who understand exactly what it is like to be us--a family impacted by childhood cancer. 

Lily was just a baby when she was diagnosed with ependymoma, a brain tumor that only seems rare until it's at your front door and in your baby's crib. There is no amount of time or prayer or therapy that will ever make Lily's diagnosis okay nor is there anything to erase the memories that are etched in every cell in my body. 

But, the thing is, despite it all, I can say I have the most blessed, joyous life. 

That's how this childhood cancer thing works. And the people who get it--they are our lemonade family. 

Every year at the Lemon Ball we reunite, in our ball gowns and tuxes with our wigs all curled and our lipstick on. And we celebrate. We celebrate despite the fear. We celebrate despite the children who are gone and shouldn't be. We celebrate because we can. 

If childhood cancer has only taught me one thing, it is that you cannot have bad days. My friend Megan Roberts reminds me of that. She lost her son Declan when he was just 4 years old--it is unimaginable. But she is always reminding me, just by how she lives her life that there are no bad days and that we need to remember we are full of goodness.

So tonight, we celebrated apart, but always together. It was different--but my daughter Chloe reminded me--the Lemon Ball is a feeling--it is not a place nor is it an event--but it is feeling. And we felt it all tonight. Someday, we celebrate cures and safer treatments for all children, but we will always celebrate the beautiful children who gave us this mission and moral obligation. And we will celebrate the incredible, strong fierce love that exists between our families. 

I believe with every fiber of my being that we will win this fight. We have no other option. 

And look at her--my girl, almost 14 years later, she is just beautiful.