A Special 10 Year Anniversary & Our March Non-Profit of the Month

Happy March! We can feel Spring trying to blossom, and we could not be more excited for more sun and flowers (and a new season of fashion) in our lives!

March is a big month for our family. In March 2011, we had a new storefront in San Diego, and I was pregnant with our 9th child. Our 8 year old second grader, Nick, had started complaining of stomach trouble in February. We had been in and out of doctors offices, had ultrasounds, blood draws, strep tests, allergy tests...But he was still sick. He started throwing up in the mornings, and on March 9, 2011, he was sick enough, I took him to the ER at Rady Children's Hospital. Even though he passed his neurological exam, we decided to give him a CT scan of his head to rule out anything in his brain causing his problems. When the scan revealed a brain tumor the size of a small orange, neuro-oncology was called in. The preliminary diagnosis we got that day was correct...Nick had medulloblastoma, brain cancer. He had surgery to resect his tumor the very next day. One month later, he started chemotherapy and 6 weeks of daily brain and spine radiation treatments. Chemo finally ended at the end of May 2012. His quarterly brain/spine MRI's went to bi-annually, then annually, and now he has brain only MRI's once a year to make sure he is still "stable." The treatment stopped his growth, and he had to endure 6 years of nightly shots of growth hormone to reach his adult height of 5'7."

Nick will have to be monitored for health issues related to treatment for the rest of his life. Through it all, he never complained. He never asked "why me?" And defying some warnings we had early on about the negative effects brain radiation can have on a young brain, he is graduating from high school this year with a 3.8+ GPA and has been accepted to multiple colleges.

10 years. On 3/9/21, it will have been 10 years since our journey with childhood cancer began. It doesn't escape us that our journey had an exceptional outcome so far. And we are insanely grateful. But it was never easy, emotionally or financially. We have walked beside many families who had even harder journeys. We have lost sweet young friends to cancer. As long as we're able, we will continue to do anything we can to help other families who are battling pediatric cancer. Lemonade stands. Fashion shows. Donating 10% of our profits. Whatever we can do, we will continue to do to help where we can.

While we're on the subject of childhood cancer...We would like to introduce you to the Emilio Nares Foundation. This non-profit was inspired a young boy named Emilio Nares who was lost to leukemia before his 6th birthday. His parents honored his memory by providing rides to treatment to childhood cancer patients in San Diego. They have expanded transportation services, began donating port friendly t-shirts to children, donate snack bags, and provide support services to families. We have met some of their amazing volunteers at Rady's and saw their vans outside the hospital every day we were there. This foundation is amazing and is our Childhood Cancer Non-Profit of the Month. We will donate 10% of our profits in March to The Emilio Nares Foundation.

We appreciate every one of you who has supported our family, our store, our fundraisers...Every little bit helps!