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Acts of kindness

Every Friday during National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month we will be sharing Patrick’s journey.

Sometimes God uses us to be a miracle in someone else’s life. One small act of kindness can revise the protocol prescribed for treatment. It can change the direction of cancer research. It can save the life of a child! 

We are blessed by the families who preceded us in Patrick’s journey with cancer. Their willingness to enroll their children in studies, provide tissue samples and make blood donations have made the difference between the life and death for many children. Also credited are the many individuals who donate precious time and resources to help find a cure. Those single acts of kindness can impact the lives of thousands of children long after their donation is made.

My sorrow knew no bounds the day Patrick was diagnosed with cancer. I will never forget the ache that consumed me when I was forced to face the fact that my child would be battling a life-threatening illness. Instantly, I knew life was forever changed. With no regrets, I gave up my career the day he was diagnosed. I felt God had a bigger job for me to do. That job was taking care of my son. That job was cancer!  My greatest desire is that no child should ever have to battle cancer and no parent should have to face the potential loss of their child. I pray someday Texas Children’s Hospital will discover a cure for all childhood cancers. To make that happen, it will take everyone who cares!

My family and I have been on a mission to give back since the day we were told of Patrick’s disease. We were asked to participate in studies at the crossroads of many milestones along Patrick’s journey. In hopes of furthering research, we willingly participated. Patrick and I have participated in numerous training sessions for the nurses. We have taken food to the family room on the ninth floor of the West Tower. My husband and I have spoken to young doctors, have participated in focus groups and have spoken with potential donors. We advocated for a MIBG room to benefit children around the country who battle neuroblastoma. Because we also believe there would be no healing without God, I served at the Cancer Comfort Ministry at our church, participated in toy drives and have spoken to, and prayed with, people fighting the fight. Recently, I made a contribution to the hospital's, “Spotlight on Cancer” book, I am blogging this month and created a Trees for Life display in the clinic for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

I now serve on the Texas Children’s Cancer Center Advisory Board. Together with my partner and friend, Shelley Barineau, we have founded a new campaign for the Cancer Center called Trees for Life. Our desire is to save the lives of children through a holiday campaign of giving. We are working hard to transform holiday decorative trees into trees with the purpose of curing childhood cancer. The value of Trees for Life is in its simplicity. We provide businesses with ornaments, photos of our precious cancer patients and signage encouraging donations to Texas Children's Cancer Center. Our program allows all donors, great and small, a chance to participate in helping find the cure for cancer.

Giving back doesn’t have to be large. Blessings can found in the small. The difference is made when the heart is willing. For me, I would rather chase my dream of ending childhood cancer than to be pursued by regrets because I never tried. Will you join me? Please get involved in making a difference in your community or in your child’s school. If you work for or own a business with 100 or more employees, your support of Trees for Life will put money into the hands of Texas Children’s research doctors working to find a cure. Your act of kindness can make the difference in the life of a child and together we can work to end childhood cancer!

For more information about Trees for Life, please contact Lisa McCoy at

Laurie DeClaire, mother of patient