Support For Christi Thomas

This blog is to help offer support to the Thomas Family and their daughter, Christi, in her battle against cancer. Please visit Christi's website at to learn more. There, you'll find journals, photos and a lots of other information about this amazing child and her family.

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Saturday, April 28, 2007

It's a Small, Small, World

As I boarded my plane this morning looking forward to meeting “The Awesome and Amazing Erin’s” mom in Houston today, I noticed an attractive mom with her daughter – who looked to be a college student. Going to airports is always hard for me now because Christi and I traveled so much together throughout her years of treatment, the memories are always fresh and painful. I watched the two of them interact and was saddened that I'd never be able to share that special time with Christi. Talking to Shayne on the phone I said through my tears trying to comfort myself, "At least we had four years with her knowing it was only a matter of time. Some of these little babies are diagnosed and dead within months."

Well, wouldn’t you know, they boarded the plane and sat beside me. I was just hoping they didn’t ask if I had children because I no longer know what to say – am I the mother of one or two? And if I admit two then I have to explain and it’s just sooooooo hard. Seven months after Christi’s death, I’m still living in “that didn’t really happen” mode to get me through each day.

Well, you guessed it – it came up and I finally said my daughter died from neuroblastoma on September 19th. The look on her face said it all before she even responded. She told me that she had a daughter – Macy and that Macy died of neuroblastoma on September 17th 1994. Small world! Not only that, but what I had just told Shayne - about babies dying within months of diagnosis was her horror story!

The daughter with her today was seven years old at the time (just like Shayla was). I was glad that she said she remembered her sister and the hospital. She’s now majoring in pre-med and shared with me that she just wrote a paper about neuroblastoma. Immediately sharing a special bond, we talked and cried the remainder of the flight. Each time I glanced out the window, I wondered if our Angel daughters were just outside on the clouds, high fiving that they got us together!

I can’t help but think Angel Christi made them sit beside me this morning. Southwest was her favorite airline...because you get to pick your own seat! And silly Christi's joke was always, "You can pick your own seat, but don't try to pick my seat" (meaning her little butt) hee hee.

On a happy note, it was GREAT to finally meet Dr. Vickie, Erin’s mom and to see all of Erin’s soccer equipment piled in the back of their vehicle! Not only is Erin out kicking the soccer ball but she’s out kicking neuroblastoma’s butt too and I’m thrilled about that! (Erin and Christi were diagnosed within weeks of each other in 2002 and were the same age. Erin is doing a great job with her relapse fight and we pray she’ll one day be NED forever!) While I had never met Erin's mom in person before today we've shared many emails over the years and I really thought one day Christi would get the vaccine in Houston since her cells actually grew and we'd meet up then. Little did I know work would bring me to Houston and allow us to meet, even if for only an hour and a half. Erin's mom is a Professor at a large Texas University, so (hee hee) I just HAD to bring them Ohio State shirts today!

Here's wishing you and yours a great weekend!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Orbs - Wild & Prayers for Penelope

Shayne and I were incredibly surprised to notice two very interesting "orbs" in our recent pictures. Out of all of the first Holy communion pictures, there is only one orb and as you can see, it is HUGE - and right on Shayla's dress! Interestingly noteworthy, this is when five children were lined up to say certain prayers - including "Today's mass is for Christi Thomas." Wild, eh?! I can't help but think Christi planned it. What a hoot

Out of all of the Heidelberg College Awards Ceremony pictures we took last week, there is only one orb and again - it is HUGE and perfectly placed. Dr. Armstrong, Chair of the Education Department, is presenting Christi's beloved babysitter - Sara, with one of the education department's highest honors. It's like Christi is hovering right over two very special people saying, "Go, Sara!" There weren't any orbs in any other other photos. Shayne and I were a bit "freaked out"!

Here are two pictures taken one year ago tonight. Unfortunately, I was in class and unable to attend Christi's one and only spring music program. She was so happy that her wonderful music teacher wanted to borrow "Daisy" - an old stuffed lion of Shayne's that the girls just love and I keep taking out to the garage because I don't want "that thing" in our house (smile). My mom snapped the pictures and I love them. It shows how happy the girls were as they carried "Daisy" to Shayne's truck.

Things are coming together unbelievably well for Christi's Tea Party to be held on Saturday, May 12th. If you'd like to attend, please let me urge you to get your tickets soon. Currently we only have 23 left. The "Proper Party" sweethearts have some fabulous surprises planned and this week we received some more generous donations for the auction items four water park passes to Great Wolf Lodge and two $25.00 gift certificates to Buffalo Wild Wings. We are so thankful and appreciative for all of the loving support! Here's the link to get tickets if you want to do so:

I must share this awesome picture of one of my very best friends. I'm incredibly proud of her. She's been faithfully working on her Ph.D. for seven years and has experienced great adversity herself all along the way. She's a wonderful inspiration, role model and professor. I'm so blessed to call her friend and colleague! Congrats, Lori!!You'll be styling on your graduation day coming up very soon! Go, Buckeyes!

Tomorrow night I get to help with the Girl Scouts. They are going to a water park overnight because of all of the cookies they sold. Thank you for buying all of those cookies. While Shayla and I are looking forward to it, it's hard to be joyous when our hearts are so heavy. May I please ask for "Prayers for Penelope" today. Our little friend is nearing the end of her battle with neuroblastoma. Shayne speaks with her sweet dad each week and although I knew her pain had been horrendous for weeks I did not realize that she's allergic to morphine. Hospice has been involved with them at home for weeks and they are all trying to get her suffering under control, but it's been pure hell for all involved. Shayne and I still cannot shake the horrible memories of those last two painful weeks with Christi out of our minds, and our NY friends have been watching their daughter suffer for so much longer. Each night I ask Christi to be waiting for Penelope and to take her hand and take her to Jesus's lap. This disease is an evil beast. No one should be filled with pain and suffering and no parent should have to watch their child endure such agony. A cure must be found. I recently read that relapsed neuroblastoma only has a cure rate of 3%. That is unacceptable. Penelope's site is:

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Pedaling with a Purpose - Go, Webby!


I’m baaaaaack… That’s right, I have returned for another year of fundraising and again this year will be racing in the Founder’s Lumberjack 100 mountain bike race to benefit the Children’s Neuroblastoma Cancer Foundation (CNCF).

So many generously supported my effort in 2006 and helped me raise over $12,000 in the fight against childhood cancer! Thank you for your support last year! While it was great news that thanks to your help I was able to surpass my fundraising goal, it saddens me to say that Christi Thomas (my inspiration for last year’s effort) passed away on September 19, 2006 after putting up a four-year long fight against the disease. She is missed by family, friends and literally millions of people from across the globe who came to love her and the entire Thomas Team through her website and online blog/journal pages.
This year I’m racing in her memory and have set a new goal of $15,000. I can’t do it without your help. Below is a link to my online fundraising site where you can make a donation (securely) with a debit or credit card. If everyone that helped last year could give just a little more, I know we can make it.

Again this year, Team Active Cycling & Fitness is donating $25 gift cards to anyone making a donation of $100 or more!

I hope you can find it in your heart to support my effort again this year (and maybe even “bump it up a bit”) with a donation in support of the CNCF. Unfortunately we couldn’t save Christi, but together we all can help make a difference in the lives of future children that are innocently stricken with this deadly form of cancer.

Thanks for making a difference!

P.S. With the help of your donation from last year, I’m pleased to report that the CNCF is able to hold a conference in Chicago this year. They were unable to hold one in 2006 due to lack of funding, yet it was at one of these CNCF conferences where the Thomas Team met the “amazing” Dr. Maris who was instrumental in providing Christi with her high quality of life for most of her treatment. Your support will help to ensure future efforts like this can continue.organization, so your donation is tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. The CNCF’s Tax ID # is 36-4370725. Visit them online at to learn more.

The 4-6th graders had their music program at school yesterday. Just watching them wear their matching tee shirts in preparation for their exciting night while I was teaching yesterday was terribly difficult for me to witness. Unfortunately, Shayla forgot her dance bag at home and because I leave directly for Ohio State after school and a very sweet mom takes care of her for me, Shayne had to bring it to school where he walked in the door and ran right into the 5th graders. While he was happy to catch up with Christi's sweet 5th grade friends, it was also terribly hard for him as well.

It's hard to believe these pictures were taken one short year ago. Christi had a blast at her first and last spring music program. I'm so grateful she was able to be there as it was touch and go for a while. God is good!
Warming up the recorders (smile).
Happy to be back in school with great teachers and friends, April 2006 (Christi age 8)

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Congrats, Kyra & Nikki!

On Friday, many tears poured down my face even just driving to the Student Awards Ceremony at Heidelberg College. All of the amazing students who were recognized were inspiring. I feel great about our world's future with these wonderful kids on our planet!

Shayla congratulates Lori on a successful completion of her seven year journey as she earned her Ph.D. a mere 24 hours earlier! YES, Dr. Arnold-Grine!!!!! Go Bucks!! Go 'Berg!! Praise God!!

Dr. Armstrong and (the new) Dr. Arnold-Grine (CONGRATS, dearest Lori!!!!) did a wonderful job, as always. I couldn't help but feel like Christi would have been very proud. Our deepest thanks to all of the generous donors who have donated to the "Christi Thomas Memorial Fund" which is allowing us to give back to others and to present these scholarships in Christi's memory.

The Christi Thomas Scholarship Committee, consisting of five individuals, selected Kyra and Nikki as this year's Heidelberg College scholarship recipients. It was touching and humbling to see these ladies again and to get to meet their parents - who drove great distances to be in attendance. I can only imagine how very proud they must be of their amazing daughters! I know we are!

While the essay/application requirements did not ask how Christi Thomas affected their lives or anything like that we were touched that some of the entries included information about Christi. I’ll share that here:

Nikki and Kyra said that Christi touched their lives forever. They've touched our family too. God bless, Kyra and Nikki! Congratulations, ladies!

After meeting Christi Thomas, I quickly learned that she was a strong, courageous, warm and loving girl. It was obvious that she loved to read and was artistic. As a prospective teacher, I have a thirst to learn and absorb the most information that I can and I strive to be the best at everything I do – like Christi.

Many listed 4H, baby-sitting, cheerleading, theater, and enjoying animals (just like Christi).

As a future teacher, I realize that having an involved family plays a vital role in any child’s life. However, as I sit here and write about what a great family I have, I can’t help but think of how selfish I sound. Christi, too, was blessed with this gift. As much as we hoped and prayed for a different ending, I can’t help but to think of how lucky she was to have such a wonderful family at her side. Trying to imagine her family’s constant sadness and fear would’t do justice. For her, they held those feelings in. As a result, Christi felt safe and loved which in return set her spirit free.

Christi Thomas was more than just an adorable hard-working child; she was a life-force. My roommates and I have placed her photo on our wall of inspiration and another sits on my desk as a reminder of her spirit and love.

Personally, I am thrilled that these scholarships were established in Christ’s name. They will forever ensure that Christi’s character will live on through the recipients.

From a nominator: “Several of Christi’s attributes are also true of this applicant: bright and energetic, showing excitement about her busy live and others gravitating to her. Her devotion to what is important to her and her knowledge is very apparent.”

Christi has impacted hundreds profoundly.

Teaching is helping others to love learning. It’s also a continual learning process for the teacher. Christi was always with a fun fact or joke to share, but more importantly taught others the way to live life to the fullest. She taught us how to love, laugh and smile. She taught us to give to others and to listen. As a teacher I want to pass Christi’s life lessons along to others as they enter my classroom and life.

Through I only met Christi a few times, I remember her high spirits and curious mind. Christi had a unique ability to seek out knowledge and desired to learn more. I giggle every time I read that Christi said she wanted to go to Heidelberg for her first college because I know exactly what she meant. She knew she wanted not only to be an undergraduate student, but go to on and get her masters and then her doctorate. She would attend many colleges because she loved to learn. I too hope to continue my education after my Heidelberg graduation because there is so much more to learn.

One was employed at an animal shelter last summer. When I read that application I felt like Christi was on my shoulder saying, “Vote for that one mom!” Another scholarship committee member told me they placed an angel statue, lit a candle and prayed for God to assist in making the right decision. I appreciate everyone effort and assistance! We are so blessed!

Two inspiring women - Dr. Armstrong and Miss Sara! (Sara, one of my former cheerleaders and former volunteer helpers in my classroom was a babysitter Christi LOVED! Sara received TOP HONORS yesterday and we know Sara will be an AWESOME teacher, hopefully employed close by next fall!) (Dr. Armstrong, an amazing compassionate, brilliant woman who inspires me more than she'll ever know. I'm so blessed to call her colleague and friend)

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Shayne's Bday and 7th Month Anniversary

One short year ago: Cousins! (in rare form that night!)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the World’s Greatest Dad and Husband! Last year Christi and I were not able to celebrate the day with Shayne, but at least we could talk by telephone. Not only is Shayne’s birthday today, but the 7th month anniversary of her death is also today. Some days it seems like she was just here yesterday, others it seems like she’s been gone for years. Regardless, we miss her terribly yet remind ourselves to be thankful that we were able to be her parents for nine wonderful years!

If you would like to attend Christi’s Tea Party on May 12th, we urge you to please get your tickets soon. There are only 40 tickets left. Since the country club cannot accommodate more than 140 people, we will not be able to get you in once the tickets are gone. Many sweet auction items have been lovingly donated. New donations: a wine basket from Ralph’s Kitchen, compliments of Myers & Kerschner Law Firm and Cincinnati Zoo tickets. Our deepest thanks to Columbus’s Costume Holiday House for lovingly donating all of the Alice in Wonderland costumes that our sweet COSI friends will be wearing as they walk around and mingle with the children! Thanks, friends!

Tomorrow afternoon will be the Heidelberg College Awards Ceremony. The two $1,000 Christi Thomas Memorial Scholarships will be announced at that time and will be awarded. I’ll then be able to let you know who the winners are! I’ll also share some parts of some of the touching applications.

Here’s wishing you and yours a great day! Rejoice!

One short year ago - Christi running, romping around (and crashing) at the Ronald McDonald House. Oh how I miss that incredible place where hope lives!
Miss you, sweet Jan!! Remember what a little stinker Christi was that night so happy to be with her cousin and feeling great?! I don't know how we talked her into slowing down to get this picture snapped! Thanks for sending these to me!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

A Blessed Day

Through the grace of our dear Lord, Shayla and her family and friends enjoyed a lovely celebration at church this morning! We'd like to thank everyone for making this a special and blessed day as Shayla became one with Jesus. Yes, as always, we missed Christi and felt tears slip down our cheeks when it was announced that today's Mass intention was for Christi - even though we knew it was going to be read. It was still hard to hear it.

Shayla wore Christi's cruifix necklace, which Christi received for her first Holy communion, and thumbprint charm today. She also had a small angel pin on to remind her of Christi and we talked about her many times while getting ready. Shayla remembered Christi's first Holy communion and Christi telling her about the taste of wine.
Shayla with her school friend
This little light of mine; I'm going to let it shine!
Thomas team with Father Joe
Shayla's blessed with wonderful Godparents!
Just like Sue did for Christi's First Holy Communion - another beautiful and delicious cake. (Thanks, Sue!)
"Finally, they let me change and eat my favorite meal - spaghetti at "Fatheads Restaurant". (Thanks, Fatheads!)

We had a little family joke that we know Christi would have thought was a hoot - but since she most likely had the best seats in church, perhaps she actually arranged it.

We were seated in the handicapped pew because Shayne's grandmother is in a wheelchair. As we came into church (nearing the late side after getting our hair done and picking up the cakes, etc.) an elderly gray haired lady was sitting in our pew at the end and we assumed it was grandma. Right before church began Shayne looked down and then flipped his head around to me and declared, "That's NOT grandma! Where's grandma?" Well, I had no idea, but he took off looking for her. He found her in the back of the church where she was comfortable with Shayne's Mom and aunt and uncle. Well, the rest of my family didn't realize that it wasn't Shayne's grandmother and after church they thought we left her because she was still just sitting there. My brother-in-law said as we were packing and heading out the door, "Don't forget about Shayne's grandmother!" Then he was just as surprised as we were earlier when we told him we didn't know who she was, but Shayne's grandma had already left for the restaurant. Christi would have loved all of that! Oh, I miss that sweet giggle of Christi's and I'm so thankful I can still remember what her voice sounded like. That is one of my fears that I will one day forget how she sounded.
Christi and Grandma Gear (2004)
Christi lets her little light shine (2004 / age 6 1/2 years)
Christi and Grandma Falter (April 2004)

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Someone's Very Excited

Last night's first communion retreat for the children and their families was from 5 - 9:45 last night. Personally, I found it very emotional and had to spend more than a few minutes getting myself together in the restroom here and there, but Shayla had a great time! Although tomorrow I know she'll be nervous, she is all ready! Today she'll be meeting up with her cousins and I hope she's able to sleep tonight. May God bless you all! Thanks for checking in!
Shayla, age 8 (2007)
Christi, age 6 1/2 (2004)

Friday, April 13, 2007

Coming Soon - Shayla's Big Day

Things are lining up! Aunt V flew in from Arizona; Grandpa arrived from Tennessee and Nonee and Paw Paw arrived today from Florida - Yipee!!! Shayla will make her first Holy Communion on Sunday. Shayla was happy to show them Christi's "spot" at the cemetery. I'd like to thank the incredibly sweet and thoughtful people who have left darling gifts at Christi's grave. Shayla brought a few home to decorate our home. Thank you!

Christi Thomas, 2004 - age 6 1/2 "First Holy Communion"

Shayla Thomas, age 8 "First Holy Communion"

Below is the prayer our sweet friends, the Bakers from Dallas, wrote for Christi's first communion meal prayer in 2004. I will just changed the name from "Christi" to "Shayla" and I will say the same special prayer before lunch on Sunday. I think it's most appropriate!

Dear Heavenly Father,

What a glorious day! Thank you for today, and our precious Christi. She
is a blessing in the lives of her family, and all of those who have come
to know her. Praise you, Heavenly Father for making her in your
likeness. In your word, you say in the book of John "All who receive
him, to those, who believe in his name, he gives the right to be called,
children of God." (John 1:12).

Lord, we are grateful for your provision, for your gifts, and for your
grace. We are grateful for your nature, your knowledge, and your desire
to know each one of us personally. On this special day, we look to your
word for continued direction and celebration. In the book of Isaiah you
tell us "He gives us strength when we are weary, and increases the power
of the weak. But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will
walk and not be faint (Isaiah 40:29,31) May you be with Christi, and
touch her body and mind, never having her fall short of searching and
reaching for you in her life.

Finally Lord, you have given all of us instruction, to have the wisdom,
insight, and understanding of a child in order to understand your love
for us.

In the book of Mark we are told a story about the nature of children.
Jesus says, as parents were bringing their children to him to be
blessed "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for
the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth,
anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child, will
never enter it. And he took the children into his arms, put his hands on
them and he blessed them. (Mark 13-16) Lord, this is what Christi has
done, She has come before you, with the blessing of her parents, family,
friends, and all of those who love her so dearly, and she has come to
you for your blessing Lord. We pray that you will use your hands on her,
bless her, keep her, and love her for all of the rest of eternity.

It is our prayer that today, as Christi has taken her first Holy
Communion, she will desire to know you personally as her Lord and
Savior. Lord, please bless this special day, this meal, and all of those
who are here to share this special day. We give thanks to you dear Lord
for this incredible little girl…In Jesus name we pray, Amen….

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Another Young Victim

Words cannot possibly express my sadness this morning as I just learned of yet another young victim of this horrible disease called neuroblastoma - Angel Kendall.

My heart breaks for this wonderful family we had the pleasure of treating with so many times while in Philadelphia. I'm so glad he was able to get out of the hospital and to church for Easter on Sunday. We lift Aimee, Neil, Grandma Nonee and Kendall's darling twin brother Zachary up at this time.

I continue to have more questions than answers. I had been asking Christi to be there to welcome Kendall home and now I ask God to comfort his family, especially his little twin brother. I just hope he remembers his brother; that was one of my fears when Christi was first diagnosed and Shayla was only three. Dr. Maris is studying the fact that twins seem to be hit with this disease and I have more questions than answers. Are they even close to a cure? Hardly! Will I see it in my lifetime? I really doubt it. May God give our friends strength and comfort now and forever.Fly, Kendall, Fly!! We love you and thank you for enriching our lives. We will NEVER forget you!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Family Photos

Shayla remembered that Christi had her picture taken with Buttercup on her sixth birthday so she had been asking to have her picture taken with all four of her pets. The sweet photographer agreed so here it is! What a hoot!

March 19, 2007: I'm not used to it yet; perhaps I'll never be. It still seems odd to see us as a small family of three. I'll upload Shayla's first communion pictures soon!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Easter Update

Saturday night Shayne carried a sleeping Shayla to bed. Then we sat at the kitchen table and said we didn't know how we'd ever get through Easter without Christi. As you can see, the bunny found Shayla and we made it through. I wish I would have been up to getting together with our relatives, but we knew that would be just too hard without Christi. We had a quiet day at home and Grandma Nee Nee stopped by last night.
The neighbors kindly invited Shayla over to partcipate in their Easter egg hunt. She loved it!
Easter Morning, April 2003 (Christi age 5, Shayla 4)
On a glorious Easter break, home from NYC. Christi at the Easter egg hunt at Grandma Nonee & Paw Paw Joe's (April 2003)

If you're interested, remember to register for Christi's Tea Party - a fundrasier for her Memorial Fund to be held on what would have been her 10th birthday, May 12th. THANKS!!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

He is Risen!

Falling snow this Easter morning reminded me of 2004, when Christi was invited to the White House for the Egg Roll and it included freezing rain! (Picture: Shayla, age 5)

Yesterday we were blessed with friendship and invited to attend a charming Easter party at our friends' home. I can't even explain what a nice time we had with such lovely people. The ten precious girls competed in many organized contests which produced great giggling. Thank you, sweet friends!

Shayla continues to be our rock. While coloring Easter eggs last night, I had many challenging moments. Every time I left the kitchen, she'd come and find me - hug and kiss me and invite me back to help. We do miss Christi terribly every single day, but somehow holidays - with all of the traditions, are the hardest I think.

(April 2006: Shelby & Christi color eggs)

Thankfully, Grandma Donna and Barry arrived last night bringing us joy! It had been a tough afternoon and we had just settled in to watch a DVD "Akeelha and the Bee" (an awesome family movie!) we borrowed from the library when the doorbell rang. Their visit was great medicine!

This morning I was surprised to look out and see two unique birds, never noticed them before. I like to think my dad and my daughter were playing silly tricks on us (sending two birds to represent them) on this blessed day - unique birds, sitting on the railing in the snow. What a hoot! Well, Miss Shayla will be up soon and will want to know if the Easter Bunny left anything in her basket so I should go. I'll update later! Here's wishing you and yours a glorious and blessed Easter! Rejoice! He is Risen!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

A Child Dies of Cancer

"A Child Dies of Cancer"

God said, “I know you’re hurting
And filled with grief and strife
The loss of such a loved one
Cuts deep, just like a knife.”

I said, “It’s unrelenting
The sadness and the woe
This pain so cruel and ruthless
How could you ever know?”

God said, “I’m full of mercy
My arms are open wide
Come here to me for comfort
Get rid of earthly pride.”

I said, “I cannot do that
You took my child away
My world once bright and cheerful
Has turned to skies of gray.”

God said, “I really love you
Your loss, I truly share
I’m here to eas yourburden
This weight, I’m going to bear.”

I said, “Dear Lord have mercy
On ended knee, I pray
I cannot stand this torture
I fall apart each day.”

God said, “You’ll find the answers
You mustn’t be so weak
The truth is found in scripture
It’s there that you must seek.”

I said, “How could you know, God?
Your heart is made of steel
You’ll never really understand
The heartache that I feel.”

God said, “I know you’re hurting
I see you’ve suffered loss
You lost your child to cancer
Mine died upon the cross.”

By Marilyn Ferguson, 2006

Friday, April 06, 2007

Glorious Easters with Christi Thomas

1998: almost one!
1999: almost two!
2000: almost three!
2002: almost four!
2003: almost six!
2004: almost seven!
2005: almost eight!
2006: almost nine!