“I was both surprised and honored when I learned that Connie Smith’s recording of my song, ‘Once A Day,’ has been selected for inclusion inside the National Recording Registry at the Library of Congress in Washington. Although it’s her recording that is being preserved, they included my name on the plaque as having written the song. I’m in some pretty select company here, and both proud and grateful. I’m grateful, too, for the toughness my grandson, Gabe, has shown in completing his five weeks of radiation therapy prior to his bone marrow transplant coming up in May. They gave him the certificate he is holding here as proof of his “graduation,” and the smile on his face tells you how proud he is of his achievement. In case you haven’t figured it out, Gabe is my hero. Another special person in my life is pictured in the bottom photo, the guitar player in my band since 1981, Les Singer. It’s hard to believe Les has been with me for 40-years, but he has. I love this picture, and wanted to share it with you. Thanks, Lester, for all the miles, the music and the memories.”
My journal this time is not something I have written, but rather a letter from my daughter-in-law, Beth, in which she shares with you the latest news regarding her family and, in particular, her son, Gabe, and his ongoing battle with cancer.
It took a lot for Beth to open up her heart the way she did in this letter and bring you inside our family circle during what promises to be a very hopeful yet stressful time. We are facing some anxious days, but we are optimistic that the outcome will more than justify the anxiety and the fear. Thank you for taking the time to read this…and thanks in advance for your help and your prayers which I know will be forthcoming.
She begins her letter by addressing everyone as “Team Gabe.”
10 Years!!! This month marks ten years since our sweet boy was diagnosed with cancer. Ten years of treatments, ten years of ups and downs, and too many surgeries and trips to the hospital to count. It was very important to Jamey and me when Gabe was diagnosed to be intentional about sharing what we thought was essential for prayer and support, while trying to not be “the cancer family.” We have tried to be as “normal” as we could and treat life as “normal” as we could. We now feel that we have no choice but to share more details about what is going on with Gabe and the coming months. After seeing all of the specialists at multiple hospitals across the country, and trying countless chemo treatments and therapies, we have run out of things to try and put Gabe’s cancer into remission. Our Amazing doctors and nurses have been able to treat Gabe’s cancer and maintain it from spreading, but nothing has ever been able to put it into remission or cure it.
When I say that many prayers have gone into our next steps, that would be an understatement. After consulting our doctors, nurses, our pastor, therapists, and lots of prayer, we have decided to go “all in” and do a bone marrow transplant. Gabe ultimately made the decision and we are so thankful for his maturity and growth in the Lord to come to this decision. This is Huge and we do not take these next steps lightly. The first prayer that was answered was finding a perfect match for Gabe. The Lord was faithful in answering our request and his sister, Hallie, is his Perfect match!! For those of you that don’t know, this is not usually the case and a perfect sibling match is the best case scenario for the transplant to be successful.
We are planning on starting the transplant in March of 2021. We are just a few months away from that and are already planning our next steps. We are having to be extra careful and vigilant to keep our family safe during this awful pandemic. This past week we moved Sophie out of in person school and completely online. Gabe is already online and we are being even more strict with where we are going and who we are with. All this to say, please don’t be offended when we hang back from crowds, don’t give hugs, and aren’t comfortable talking with you if you aren’t wearing a mask. Our kids aren’t allowed to do much of anything outside of school and limited activities.
The verse that we have always clung to for Gabe through the years has been Joshua 1:9.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
The Lord has been so faithful and Gabe has been so brave through everything he has been through, and now Hallie is too. She is not only pleased that she is the match, she is willing and anxious to try and help Gabe. We are so grateful for her spirit and attitude with this. What a gift!!
This will be a huge transition for our family as Hallie will be having a painful surgery, and Gabe and I will be in the hospital away from family anywhere from 5-8 weeks. We are making new Team Gabe shirts that will be coming out in January for order!! Jamey and I felt like we needed to let people in and keep you updated so you know how to pray for us. You can follow our page at https://facebook.com/Team-Gabe-102255765085555/ for updates throughout the process. Please feel free to share with family and friends so that they can pray for us as well.
Thank you for loving us so well the past ten years and continuing to support us through your love, support, and prayers. We appreciate it more than you know! Hopefully this time next year there will be no more virus and No More Cancer!!
If you would like to join Team Gabe and help support Beth and Jamey in their struggle, I hope you’ll start by wearing one of the shirts they have had made and by keeping all of us in your thoughts and prayers throughout these next few months. We are being presented with a great opportunity here, but we also understand that we could well be facing a long and bumpy ride.
Thanks so much…and God bless.