August 22, 2012

Prayers for Rachel – #PrayersForRachel

On August 9th, 2012, at age 17, Rachel was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor {DIPG or Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma}…

PrayersForRachel

This was an outstanding shock to our entire extended family because Rachel does not fit the profile for this cancer!  About 200 cases arise each year, most of which appear in children between the ages of 5-10, and on average most live only a few short 9 to 12 months post diagnosis.  Rachel and her identical twin sister are to start their senior year in high school today… the first time in their lives that they did not attend the first day of school together.

We are all still struggling with this news, and have researched everything we can about this cancer.

While my husband and I were engaged, we decided that I would complete a study abroad program in Jerusalem for six months, something I had always dreamed of doing.  During that time, my hubby lived with his aunt and uncle, Rachel’s family, in an effort to help us save money for our wedding while he attended the university.  My husband has been close to Rachel’s mother ever since he was a little boy, as she always seemed to look out for him… just like he was her own son.  Since she started her family later in life, Rachel and her four siblings are considered more as nieces and nephew’s, than cousins.  We would do anything for this wonderful family!

I don’t know if it is the twin connection or not, but we have always felt close to Rachel’s family!  My husband is a twin {yes, he has a twin sister}, and we have identical twins as you all know well. There are actually five sets of twins in the extended family.

I include a photo below of my husband holding Rachel, with his twin holding Rachel’s identical twin.  My hubby says that those six months helping with Rachel and her siblings did more to help prepare him for actual parenthood than anything else, especially in raising identical twins!

Twins and Twins

While we lived in Kansas City, Rachel’s family kept in touch, visiting us during the summers {see photo below}. Today, Rachel’s family lives only 20 minutes from us.

Twins and Twins

On August 14th, I posted a brief message to our Facebook Page about Rachel’s diagnosis… and our fans were so wonderful in their responses!  Rachel and her family read through each thoughtful response, loving comment, and heart-felt prayer from our fans all over the world!  It brought tears to their eyes to know that so many of you were mindful of Rachel, and praying for her in your own way!

I checked Twitter later that day and saw that some of you began a hashtag of #PrayersFor Rachel that was beginning to trend in some areas!  People all over were retweeting, not even knowing Rachel personally or the details of what was happening with her!

Through all the prayers and fasting from friends and family, including your prayers, Rachel and her parents reached a decision on a treatment.  They felt guided to apply for a program treating this cancer at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, and feel very blessed that she was accepted into the program.

If any of you would care to follow Rachel’s journey, as she blogs her experiences and shows her faith and determination in her own words as she battles this cancer, you may do so by following Rachel’s Blog.  Feel free to leave comments on her posts, as I know Rachel would love to hear from you!

If any of you have ever wished you could do something for us, please spread the word about Rachel… you can share Rachel’s blog link {http://www.rachelstratton.blogspot.com} along with the hashtag #PrayersForRachel on either Facebook or Twitter.  I know how passionate our amazing fans can be… and more and more prayers certainly couldn’t hurt!

Thanks for reading this post, and we wish you all the very best! With a huge heart of gratitude and love from our extended family to yours,

* Note from Mindy: Don’t forget to follow us on BlogLovin, a new easy-to-use blog reader!