Happy New Year…..May it bring everything you hope for.

The end of a year always brings a period of looking back and looking ahead. What kind of year did I have and what am I looking forward to or dreading in the year ahead? When dealing with a serious illness in the family, that reflecting has a unique lens.

I had years I didn’t know how we all got through and ones I wish we could have over and over again. This year marks another one without Taylor and that will never feel right. But there were many joys too and the coming year will hopefully bring more.

As I reflect on 2016, I am filled with joy and pride about the young women my two daughters have become. Many of their formative years were overwhelmed by Taylor’s illness and the loss of the crazy normalcy of home life. Their worlds were rocked by their sister’s death, but they found a way to get through the grief and lead meaningful lives. They fill my heart with love every day.

I am also proud of the accomplishments of Conquering Kidz Cancer. What started as a small, local fundraiser has grown to be a major supporter of breakthrough initiatives in pediatric cancer research. The research our wonderful donors have enabled has saved lives and given meaningful hope to kids in battle. The promise of a brighter future is a real one. And we continue to advocate for legislative change – speaking out loudly and clearly for children and families who cannot speak for themselves.

I came into the world of pediatric cancer the hard way and I of course would give anything not to have gone through what endured. At the same time, my work means the world to me and I cannot think of anything that is more important. Spending time with a sick child or advising the parents of one is to know these people at their rawest. To be trusted with their thoughts and feelings is an honor. Taylor’s goal was to save children from going through what she did and while she was stopped short, I will continue to fight in her honor and with pride.

With deepest hope for continued good work in pediatric cancer research and advocacy, warmest wishes to families in battle, and deepest appreciation for the joys in my life, I wish you all the very best in 2017. May it bring everything you hope for.

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