In that short time, and with the addition of another child, a large web of new friends has appeared. We’ve met families through work, school, Brennan Park, coffee shops, out on walks and hikes, at the beaches and lakes — you name it.
In those few years, we have known friends and acquaintances to face seemingly insurmountable challenges: A home destroyed by fire, jobs lost, and devastating financial hardship. It astounds me to say that I can easily bring to mind four young parents who left families grieving, long before it should have been their time.
A little over two weeks ago, my eldest was at a birthday party when one of the children suddenly became ill. Less than 24 hours later, five-year-old Jasmine Blake was undergoing surgery in Vancouver to remove a brain tumour.
That’s a tough one to try to explain to your kid. Never mind the fact that Jasmine is now the third Squamish child we know — or know of — to be battling cancer.
This fact has a lot of parents in our close-knit town hugging their children extra hard these days. The reality of it all is harsh to be sure, but somewhere amid the sadness and worry is a silver lining.
Being generous and charitable are values I want to instill in my children. Living life with an open heart is another. And while I have always made a point of my kids seeing what we do to help others — even if it’s simply offering bananas to the fellow who is down on his luck outside the grocery store — I can never be certain of the impact such gestures make on them.
So when my smart and caring friend Nancy Arneson organized a dinner plan for the Blake family via MealTrain.com, I jumped on board without a second’s hesitation. Through this free service, community members can sign up to bring the family a hot meal on a day that works for everyone. You can do it once, or as often as you like for as long as there is need.
What I loved about it is that it’s something we could do as a family. Cooking is an easy thing to involve young children in — as long as one doesn’t mind pasta sauce on his/her tea towels.
So last Sunday, while the Blakes’ lasagna and garlic bread were baking in the oven, my girls coloured cards, cut out hearts and helped make a magical ribbon wand for Jasmine.
It’s been a hard few weeks, but they haven’t been without rays of sunshine.
Support for all three families who are battling childhood cancer is still welcome. Jasmine Blake and Theo Lazaridis have pages set up for their families on Facebook that use FundRazr (Help Lisa and Rick Blake, and Theo’s Basecamp), and Lina Palethorpe has a dedicated website at TeamLina.com where you may donate through PayPal.