I do not normally blog from school but I just had one of the most emotional and inspiring moments of my life. Twenty minutes ago I met Lilee Whittle-Putt and her family. Lilee’s first birthday is on December 5. My daughters’ first birthday is on December 10th. As we plan on having some family and close friends share Ellexis and and Ella’s first birthday, Lilee’s family prepares to head back to Vancouver Children’s Hospital.
Lilee is recovering from brain surgery and her first round of chemotherapy to help her to defeat a form of brain cancer called glioblastoma (GBM). When you see Lilee, she just looks and acts like any typical 11 month-old; she reminds me so much of my daughter Ella – not a whole lot of hair and a smile and giggle that will make you melt.
Lilee is home from the hospital for a few days, in between rounds of chemo, so she and her family were here to personally thank three of our students for leading up a fundraiser in which they raised almost $700 in just two days. I am so proud of these students (in grades 2 and 5) for doing something for all the right reasons. I am so proud of the small community of Agassiz for coming together and helping a family in need. I have lived in both small communities and larger cities and nothing compares to the power that results when a community surrounds a child and family with support and love.
Meeting Lilee was very difficult for me as all I could picture was my family going through this. The Whittle-Putts seems so strong… and this strength must come from the strength within a beautiful child. Meeting Lilee makes it clear of what truly matters.
Thank you, Lilee, Andrew (father), Chelsea (mother) and Ron (grandfather), for showing me what is the only thing that is important in life – love. Thank you for showing me the importance of family, friends and a caring community. Thank you for inspiring me to see that NOTHING is more important to me than the love of my family. Hug your kids as soon as you can. Stop and enjoy the many moments.
I am in awe of how the courage of a child can inspire an entire community. I look forward to seeing Lilee and the Whittle-Putt family next month; with the strength in her heart I know she will continue to defeat this horrible disease and inspire all of us.
For a post by my previous principal, Roxanne Watson, on how students can make such a huge difference (including more stories about Lilee’s fight), please click here.
Thank you to Natalie Bolan for initially sharing Lilee’s story with me and introducing me to the Whittle-Putt family.