The summer before my junior year of college, I transferred from my local Penn State campus up to the Main Campus in State College, PA. I was 20 years old and took myself way too seriously. My roommate was a girl I had known from my Delco days (they've since fancied themselves up and now call the campus "Brandywine). On the Sunday of move-in weekend I got back from church with my parents to find my roommate, her boyfriend, and some boy I'd never seen before hanging out in our dorm room. That boy, Jim, became my best friend, boyfriend, study partner, and many other things over the subsequent four years we spent together. It didn't last because it wasn't right. We didn't want the same things. There were control issues and trust issues and all sorts of crap. We weren't the ones for each other.
I haven't spoken to Jim in years and years but yesterday I stumbled onto his Face*book profile through a series of coincidences typical to its way of connecting people. Of course I clicked on it - who doesn't want to see what their old boyfriend has been up to? - only to find some incredibly sad news. The kind you never want to hear about happening to anyone.
Jim and his fiancee Jen welcomed their daughter, Sofie, last April. She was born about a week after Bo actually, in a strange bit of the parallel universe at work, I suppose. They found out last month that Sophie has acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The doctors - no thanks to any medical work on their part, as they kept wanting to send Sophie and her neurotic parents home to wait out her "bug" - caught it just in time. Sophie just turned one year old yesterday. If everything goes according to textbook, she's looking at two years of treatments. Two years of direct lines and chemo and spinal taps and life in the hospital.
Sophie's mom, Jennifer, is an independent photographer. She won't be working any time soon as she spends her days and nights at the hospital with her baby girl. Jim has a good job, but two years of intensive cancer treatments, living at or near the hospital for weeks at a time, could bankrupt them. The last thing they need to worry about is their mortgage payment or keeping the lights on when they're focused on keeping their baby girl alive.
Which is where we come in.
A website has been set up to receive donations for Sophie, Jim, and Jennifer. It's not just any donation site though. Jennifer knows a lot of photographers all over the world and they've come together to offer something special. When you make a donation, you have the option to "purchase" a photograph from a large - and growing - gallery, donated by some very talented professional photographers. When you give to Sophie's Fund, you get back something beautiful. A donation of as little as $8 will get you a photo.
This is just terrible. I can't imagine the nightmare of taking my precious boy to the doctor and ending up in an ambulance screaming towards the hospital with the word CANCER blazed into my corneas. I don't have a wide audience on this blog, but some of you who read (thanks very much) do. If you could repost this story, or just the link, it would mean a lot to two genuinely good people who are living a nightmare they never saw coming.