Teachers for Teachers | Slice of Life: Hopeful Thoughts #SOL18 #TWTBlog
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Slice of Life: Hopeful Thoughts #SOL18 #TWTBlog

I bend down to stretch my hip and glance at my watch.  Twenty minutes to go.  26,000 runners are lined up to run – rain or shine.   I hear a distant rumble and look up to check the skies which have delayed our start. Looks like it may come down again.  As I stand up, a sign on a young girl’s back catches my eye.  I reread it several times trying to grasp what I am reading. 

I survived cancer twice.

I am fourteen.

I have fought to run this race.

Thank you.

Patient # __________

Next to her is a woman with this sign on her back:

I’m her Wingmom!

The enormity of these signs and what this young girl and her mom are doing takes over me.  How can I worry about the weather?  Does my pace even matter? Why should I be wearing a shirt that labels me a hero?  These two people are true heroes. I point her out to my friend – a co-runner and an employee at St. Jude.  My friend makes her way over to connect with them, to hear their story, and to thank them.

The sun peeks through the wall of gray allowing a single ray of light to shine down on us.  I know it sounds magical, but the truth is, at that moment, the day literally transformed into blue skies.

This was my fourth year running for St. Jude.  Each year I am overwhelmed by the spirit of this event.  Each year I receive far more than I give.  Each year I am humbled and inspired by the strength, resilience, and kindness of this community.  This year I find myself thinking about the power of choice.

My friend and co-runner’s department at St. Jude recently launched a website to provide families and children with the information they need.  This website, Together, is a new online resource powered by St. Jude Research Hospital. It offers dependable information and a community of support for anyone facing childhood cancer. As she described her work on this project to me over 13.1 miles, one aspect of it captivated me – Hopeful Thoughts Videos.

Families and patients share their hopeful thoughts with others in these videos on the website.  Can you imagine being faced with the unimaginable and have the positivity to share hopeful thoughts with others?  I would not believe it was possible if I hadn’t experienced this power of choice firsthand these past four years.  None of these patients or families had a choice in their diagnosis, but they choose to impact the lives of others throughout their fight.  They choose to see the hope, they choose to connect, they choose to help others, they choose to be selfless.  Just look at some of these Hopeful Thoughts videos:



I think Danny Thomas had it right when he said, “I’d rather have a million people give me a dollar than one give me a million. That way you’ve got a million people involved.” It is about the power of choice.  Each one of us has the power to change the course of our own lives and the lives of others for the better.  As educators, we have the power to influence the children in our lives.  If we inspire them to understand that while they might not always have the power to choose what happens, they always have the power to choose how they respond to what happens, we truly could change the world.  Let’s be inspired by Danny Thomas and remember we can choose to have the power to get millions of children involved.  Imagine – I know I have hopeful thoughts.

Please share this resource – Together – with colleagues and families who may need support.  If you are interested, there is still time to donate to St. Jude.  You can donate here.



  • Avatar
    Kevin Hodgson
    Posted at 10:36h, 04 December Reply

    We do a similar walk/run here in my small city — the Hot Chocolate Run — and there is both the sense of helping others (maybe even those close to us) and being part of a larger community that cares. Way to go!

  • Avatar
    Margaret Simon
    Posted at 23:42h, 04 December Reply

    I’ve heard so many wonderful things about St. Jude. What a wonderful, inspiring run!

  • Avatar
    Patricia Palmer
    Posted at 01:28h, 05 December Reply

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful experience. Sadly, we know too many families who have lived with childhood cancer right in our own backyard. The “Hopeful Thoughts” videos are new to me. I will be sure to share them with a family who just ended treatments last month. Danny Thomas was definitely on to something and I love the way you connected his mission to the children we encounter on a daily basis.

  • Avatar
    Christine Baldiga
    Posted at 02:28h, 05 December Reply

    “Each one of us has the power to change the course of our own lives and the lives of others for the better.” Thank you for these encouraging words. It’s sometimes easier to hang our heads down and give up instead of being hopeful. This new website seems to be a wonderful place to be lifted up.
    By the way I think we all need a “wing mom!”

  • Avatar
    Amanda Potts
    Posted at 02:57h, 05 December Reply

    OH! This is what I’m NOT writing about: my best friend’s just-turned-five-year-old was diagnosed with neuroblastoma in June. It’s been a harrowing journey, and in some ways they’re just getting into the toughest parts: stem cell treatment followed by immunotherapy. THIS SITE IS AMAZING. I just sent it to her, but I already know that it will be a valuable resource. I know I should comment on your post and everything but this is *just* what they need and what we, her friends, need. It’s so good. THANK YOU for sharing. Just… thanks.

  • Avatar
    Mandy Robek
    Posted at 03:57h, 05 December Reply

    What a beautiful day for you and the many that ran and are the recipients of such an event. Choice and choose two words worthy of lots of pondering, friend. I did have to reread 13.1 – at first I thought it said 131 – thats way more than a half marathon!

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