So, on February 4, 2004, we walked out of the second opinion appointment with the understanding the Peter had just two months left to live. We had his first birthday pictures taken and we headed home to give him his birthday present. Dennis and I purchased a small Little Tikes play set with a swing, climber and slide. Through tears we tried to assemble it but we couldn’t. My brother-in-law put it together for us and Peter quickly climbed in.
In the next days we moved quickly to plan his funeral, burial and birthday party. Burial plots were available for the three of us at Franconia Mennonite Church, my grandparents were buried there and it was close to home so we’d be able to visit there often. Dennis was in contact with Williams-Bergey-Koffel Funeral Home, they are next to the church and oddly enough I had to drive past both of them to order and pick-up his birthday cake at the Family Heritage Bakery.
February 7th we held his first birthday party at our home. Everyone knew it was the only party we thought he’d have. There were rules. Number one - no one could cry on the first floor, we were celebrating his life and there would be other days for tears. Crying stations were set-up on the second floor and on the front porch. Number two – do NOT sing happy birthday, we know that would be too painful. Millie Figueroa Photography spent the day documenting the party for us. She made an amazing video and took hundreds of beautiful pictures.
We had the support of a loving family and many friends that day. Peter had so much fun and the rest of us survived. It seems impossible now that our sick baby will celebrate his thirteenth birthday tomorrow morning at 9:00am. From what I understand teenagers can drive you crazy, there’s a whole new set of cares and worries, I’ll take it! I’m beyond grateful for the cares and worries. We’ve journeyed so long and so far to get to this point. We been told the unimaginable, we’ve witnessed fourteen surgeries and two code-blues. I held him through fifty-one blood transfusions and picked out his funeral clothes, every weekend for months, while doing his laundry. Sadly, Peter has attended the funerals of his friends. He knows many people that would give all that they own for one more day with their child and none of us take that lightly.
Childhood cancer is ugly; no one should know how this feels! Please say a pray tonight for all of the families that face it’s harsh realities each day. Pray for a cure, pray for an end to the suffering, and pray that Peter through his Peter Powerhouse Foundation will be able to carryout his mission to improve the lives of kids with cancer and to bring comfort to childhood cancer families.
Please view Peter’s video, listen to his inspiring story and join his virtual birthday party with a donation of $13 or more. Thank you for your support!