September 13th, 2007


Robert's Snow

 It’s darn hard to think up anything nice to say about cancer, except that the astrological sign is devoted to people who bring together families. And actually, in a weird, sad, twisty way, I guess the illness does, too.


Also, another nice thing? We’ve gotten better at kickin’ it, thanks to some awfully clever doctors and scientists.


But still, sometimes its pervasiveness really rocks my feet right off the ground. I think, This can’t be right. Do other folk know this many people who’ve been up against cancer? And then I’ll ask around, and it turns out they do.


For me, for starters, I’ve got my dad and my dad-in-law, two uncles, my aunt, my grandfather, my grandmother, her brothers. My dad’s best friend, my college roomate’s dad, a boy on my daughter’s swim team. Three mothers from our one little pre-school. Three siblings from my hometown. I could go on, but you get the idea. I’ll bet you’ve got a list of your own.


Some of the people on my list are gone now, some are cancer-free, and others are still duking it out with the disease. Year after tired year.


And that’s where the “kicking it” part comes in. These folks kind of need a cure. a.s.a.p. 
So do the people who will be diagnosed tomorrow, or next Wednesday or sometime next year.


There are a lot of different ways for us (those of us who aren’t world renowned research specialists) to help. 
We can run and walk. We can point and click. We can live strong.


Also? We can buy snowflakes.


The deeply talented children’s author and illustrator Grace Lin just lost her beloved husband Robert to cancer. He was 35. Early on in his battle, he and Grace founded Robert’s Snow: for Cancer’s Cure. They raised a lot of money when he was alive and now the project continues as his legacy. You should read all about it yourself – it’s a powerful thing – but I’ll give you the upshot. Hordes of wildly creative and generous children’s book illustrators (more than 200 this year!) design and paint wooden snowflakes and then the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute auctions them off. You get an extraordinary work of art and the docs at the cancer institute get back to work.


This year’s auctions take place November 19-23, November 26-30 and December 3-7. And even before that, you’ll be able to learn all about this year’s artists because the children’s literature blogging community is making a great big push to get the word out, in honor of Robert and in solidarity with Grace.


The amazing women over at 7 Impossible Things Before Breakfast have taken the lead on this. You can read more there. And, I promise, I’ll keep you posted.


In the meantime, it kinda goes back to what I was saying the other day, don’t you think? 
Spending time -- the coin of our life -- carefully. 
With intention, joy, love and gratitude. 
Let's squeeze as much of that out of it as we can…