This used to be a weekend I looked forward to.
The Labour Day long weekend promised campfires, time with friends, relaxing and enjoying the last vestiges of summer.
One less day of work, one long day watching football.
Some of those things still happen, but since Dominic died on Sept. 3, 2015, every bit of joy is sucked away by the knowledge we'll never see him again.
Seven years ago today, while on his wish trip to Florida, we awoke to Dom's oxygen levels crashing. The ambulance didn't make it to the children's hospital in Orlando because he was turning blue. Trish doing a blood draw from his line because the staff at the hospital we diverted to didn't know how. A second ambulance finally getting us somewhere useful. A week later pushing an empty stroller through the airport and holding him the only way we could - in an urn.
Of course September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. As if he knew dying then would have extra impact. You were smarter than your two years, no doubt about that buddy.
For the second year in a row the City of Medicine Hat has proclaimed the month officially. We won't be lighting the teepee gold because, frankly, that costs money, and other charities seem happy to pay it (my contact with Kids Cancer Care tells me Medicine Hat is the only place she's heard of where charities have to pay for lighting a major landmark).
It's a nice gesture nonetheless, and we appreciate it. And there are other ways to show your support.
Consider "going gold" for childhood cancer awareness. Change your profile picture on social media to something symbolic, or like me, add a ribbon to it. I don't ever plan to change my profile picture from the one of Dominic and I, so adding a frame works best.
I'd be remiss not to suggest helping out our charity efforts. Whether it's a donation through my Extra Life page (www.extra-life.org/participant/sean) or Trish's (www.extra-life.org/participant/trish), every penny goes to the Alberta Children's Hospital. Our online auction efforts are coming along well, but many folks have not responded to the messages I've sent them. The auction takes place Sept. 30-Oct. 2 on the Dominicstrong Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/groups/dominicstrong). And of course our 25-hour Extra Life gaming marathon happens Nov. 5-6 at the Medicine Hat Lodge.
And then there's the really easy things. Like sharing this blog post, or one of the many videos made about Dominic (I'm still partial to the one from Extra Life). Or going back and reading some of the blog and remembering what childhood cancer does.
Every year an average of 190 kids in Alberta are diagnosed with cancer. Of those, 30 will die. We've got to keep striving for ways to stop it.