I missed the memo about Craigslist, Cancer, and the Miracle of Flight
I first discovered Craigslist when my husband and I cluelessly moved from Virginia to Los Angeles back in 2001. Through the magic of Craigslist, we’ve acquired jobs, cars, furniture, free haircuts, and lots of other weird and wonderful stuff. So in 2007 when I was cluelessly pregnant with my first child, I ventured into the Craigslist Pregnancy Forum in the hopes of finding less clueless kindred spirits.
I’ll admit it…at first it was overwhelming. There were hundreds of people posting messages and it was hard to keep up. But gradually, folks within the greater forum found their tribes, and I found mine. All these many years later, there’s a group of us that have stayed close and grown closer as our kids have grown up. More kids have come and we’ve shared all the challenges that have come with growing families. We live all over the country, but through the magic of social media, we stay connected just about every day. I love these women, and count them among my most treasured friends.
And some folks might make the distinction between “internet friends” and “real friends”, but we’ve transcended that, I think. And these people do exist. I even have proof! It’s to the point that we plan vacations together, which we all look forward to more than Christmas.
One of these treasured friends, Dianne Burrell, has Stage IV cancer. Her first diagnosis came soon after the birth of her second child. Dianne is a nurse and became a great advocate for her own care. She underwent extensive surgeries and chemotherapy, and there seemed to be hope for a good long-term outcome. But last year, a recurrence of her cancer was diagnosed. Despite a fairly grim prognosis, Dianne has battled ferociously through the horrendous side-effects of every treatment protocol that might buy her some time. Because that’s all she wants…more time.
Before I had kids, I was pretty cavalier about my mortality. But having kids is a game changer. This shift was described so well by story teller Bobby Stoddard on this recent episode of The Moth. If you have a minute, go listen to his story, Flight. You will laugh and cry. And when you cry, please think of Dianne. Because for Dianne, the prospect of leaving her kids is no longer just a heart-stopping nightmare, it’s her heartbreaking reality.
When we hear stories like stories like Dianne’s I think there are two typical reactions…the first is, “Thank God that’s not me.” And the second, is, “This makes me feel helpless…what can I do?” Friends and readers, there is something you can do and I am begging you to do it. There’s a GoFundMe page set up to help Dianne and her family with some of the crushing expenses that have come with her illness. Sadly, there’s not much that money can do at this point to help Dianne medically, but it will alleviate some of her worries. Whatever you are moved to contribute, please give. And please share Dianne’s story far and wide. Here’s the link again: gofundme.com/oc3reg. Thank you and memo received.