Goodbye for now, Shelby

I have sad news to convey. Shelby died last week. I found out the next day, but just couldn’t think about what to write until today.


Life is hard sometimes, no way around it. Like I said before, it’s something I struggle with in my own faith. Words just don’t seem enough sometimes. I mean, all of our well-wishes and heartfelt sentiments don’t take the pain away from those left with an empty place where a child once lived.

But I know this too: these words can bring comfort, and can let those left behind know that Shelby touched many lives and isn’t forgotten. Her family isn’t forgotten. And our prayers can bring comfort and healing. So, please, take a moment and let them know they’re in your thoughts, will you?

In the midst of this sorrow springs hope, though. While watching Ellen today, I was touched by another young cancer victim. Kassandra Okvath, 8, had a cancerous tumor removed in October 2003 and is now in remission. Recently, she contacted Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. It wasn’t for her own family, though; it was for University Medical Center in Tucson.

Kassandra’s wish was for the pediatric area to be given a makeover, a gift to all the kids who have to stay there and undergo some very scary things. She’s made a lot of friends there during her own battle with the disease, and has lost several friends to cancer the last couple years. Sprucing up the ward was important to her because, as she said, “sometimes that’s the last things they see.”

I don’t usually catch Extreme Makeover, so I’d not heard about this exceptional little girl. I suspect many of you haven’t, either, so that’s why I want to bring your attention to her website, Love Comes First. Kassandra has a real talent for jewelry creation, and she’s put her talent to use making necklaces and bracelets. Her intention is to sell them as a fundraiser for kids with cancer. Each bead in her jewelry has a special meaning, and I shed not a few tears as she explained each one to Ellen today.

There is one big heart in that child, and she’s someone you should know about. I’m so glad Extreme Makeover and Taylor Woodrow treated their family to renovation, too. And WHAT a renovation!

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One thought on “Goodbye for now, Shelby

  1. This is why we have pretty much stopped watching the news. There is so much sadness out there that I was making myself miserable and crying myself to sleep. I hate hearing about a child being abused, and then killed, killed in a car wreck, by some other means, cancer, etc. It is very hard to understand why God would let these things happen.

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