How Angel Conor Gave Us Our First Donation
By Kristy Ford, Mom To Conor - Forever in my heart
I wish you could've known my son Conor. Conor was an amazing little boy with a huge heart and a laugh that was infectious. He had a mischievous grin and a squeaky voice and he loved to sing silly songs. Conor loved trains, especially Thomas the Tank Engine, and he most especially loved his little brother Aidan.
Conor died on February 4, 2004 at 10:15 pm, after a long, and brave battle with JMML. He was four years, 3 months and 18 days old. He had endured many rounds of chemo, numerous drugs, bandage changes, broviac flushes, surgeries, a bone marrow transplant and relapse. He kept fighting. He kept wanting to fight. Even after relapse he chose to fight. It's how big his heart was; he wanted to fight for us, his family that loved him. All the while he was sick conor never ever gave up or gave in. He was always fighting something. Whether it was who was doing his blood pressure or who got to give him his meds or who would weigh him or who would get to examine him that day. Doctors used to have running bets on who would get the more thorough exam each day.
Conor always made sure his voice was heard and that no one treated him as just a number or another patient. He stood up for things he believed in and made sure that doctor's and nurses saw that it was a little boy there in that bed and demanded that they respect that. And they did. He touched people all over the world. He won hearts, and his death broke so many of them.
Conor was a loving and selfless person, and because of that he drew people like that too him, and his life was enriched by so many that loved him. There were times while in hospital he would be saddened by a little boy who's mommy wasn't able to stay with him, and he would do special things for that boy. Or the time a young girl was so sick she didn't want to celebrate her birthday. Conor took it upon himself to make that girl a necklace and a card, knocking timidly on the door and delivering the present himself. The girl's mom said it was the first smile she'd seen on her daughter's face in a long time.
Conor loved to give. He was always making presents for people or stopping to buy something special for some one he loved. A toy for his baby brother, a teddy bear for another transplant patient, flowers for his nana, a ring for me, his mother, crazy underwear for his daddy. Conor loved to give, and if he had money in his pocket he couldn't wait to spend it.
Not long before Conor died we had some rare family time at home for a few weeks. In that time we were able to take a walk one evening around our street. Conor had fun shovelling the snow on our walk and the neighbour's walkway and then walked up to the door and showed them the job he had done. He was rewarded with two dollars for his efforts. He tucked that away in his coat pocket, and it was months later, months after he died that I came across it again.
Then there was the five-dollar bill his daddy gave him. The money just seemed to always be getting lost and found over and over. The last time I remember seeing it was when it fell out of a clean pair of pants one evening on a day pass from the hospital. Conor picked it up, pulled up his pants that would never stay up and tucked it into his pocket. It stayed there until I found it months after he had died.
And the five dollars his nana sent, five dollars that was to be spending money on his wish trip to Disneyland. A trip we never got to take. The trip was to be our special celebration when he was all-better, but after relapse when it seemed that might not happen, we tried to arrange the trip before we continued treatment. Conor chose not to go. Home. He wanted to be home. So we stayed home and his spending money, got tucked away in a drawer, and I found it months after he died.
When I heard of this foundation for JMML, I couldn't think of a better place to give the money that a little boy had tucked away to save for something special. A little boy that lived each day, who was full of hope, strength and spirit. A little boy that loved to give, that loved to help and loved to be heard and seen. Yes, it is with heavy hearts we make this first donation to the JMML foundation, but it is also with the HOPE that no other family, no other child will have to face this disease. It has to start somewhere.