It all started almost 6 weeks ago....
Lillian started running nightly fevers. After several days, trips to her doctor with different tests coming back negative, and then coming home from a soccer tournament with a fever higher than it had been, they tested for flu which also came back negative. With papers from the doctor in hand and an order for Lillian to head on to Westchester Childrens ER to see specialists.
Lillian was admitted after a couple of hours with a rising fever and heart rate. Not long after having x-rays, bloodwork, and then a bone marrow biopsy and aspiration Bethany & husband Frankie received the news no parent wants to hear.
Lillian was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) on January 30, after almost 4 weeks of nightly fevers.
|Photo Credit: Connie Aubin|
Rewind back a couple of years... One night before heading off to one of our development clinics Kacey casually mentioned to me that there was a new family that had moved into town from Missouri. Mom had reached out to him about her older daughter playing soccer.
We were starting practice & I glance up to see a family walking across the field, mom, Bethany in tow with 2 girls, Kaylen & Lillian.
Kaylen was shy but I finally got her out to kick the ball around with the other girls as we talked with mom. All the while this cute little one was on her back. A young, sweet but shy girl, Lillian.
I knew I needed to get to know Lillian, that sweet shy smile...it pulled me right in!
Over the next year we had Kaylen playing rec soccer with us, attending clinics, academy and more. We were well on our way to building our 2009-2010 girls travel team, the Cornwall Cheetahs! While we were still in the midst of our rec soccer season, we had started our practices with the Cheetahs along with getting fundraisers going. One Saturday morning while doing water sales during the rec soccer games, Bethany came over to me & said she couldn't get Lillian to play with her team. The coach tried, mom tried...nothing, nope, not going out onto that field.
I casually walked over to Miss Lillian... not even looking at me, or speaking one word..stubborn she is, she wanted no part of getting onto that field. So I pulled one of my tricks. As I started to walk away, I said "well if ya change your mind, I might have a jolly rancher at Kaylens practice for you tomorrow"... I walked back to mom & was like that girl isn't budging. Strong willed!
Not even a minute later Bethany walked back over to me and said she'll go out on the field for a watermelon jolly rancher. My heart just about exploded. I walked over to Lillian, she shyly looked at me with a half smile, and we made a promise to each other. She plays & she gets TWO watermelon jolly ranchers! She went out and played.
Our Cornwall United Soccer Club family stepped up to show Lillian and the Aubin family some orange support today.
I figured it's Saturday, I most likely wouldn't hear back until Sunday or Monday. Within 10 - 15 minutes all other coaches responded "YES, we're all in kids, coaches & managers"... AND, from multiple people, "why not do this & raise money for the family"! This made my day, the smile on my face couldn't be wiped off!
By Monday the club board members went to work to get things set in motion. Kacey & Maureen reached out to get socks ordered as quickly as possible.
Cappelli Sports rocked and got us socks here by Thursday so we could get them customized with #teamlillian.
Using my Cricut and heat press, I went to work creating our support as a club, as a family!
We gathered for our Saturday morning Academy, between sessions the kids that were in attendance put their orange socks on.
Cooperating like no other, every kid climbed onto the bleachers with smiles on their faces...
Capturing this moment makes what we do as parents, coaches, managers proud! Our community came together with open hearts!
We owe the Cornwall United Soccer Club Board a giant thank you for helping get this all going so quickly and supporting a spur of the moment idea!
Capelli Sports... many many thanks for getting the socks to us so quickly and for the little extra you did for us!
Thank you coaches, managers and parents for the amazing support. To know that when one of our own is hurting, and going through something none of us would ever want to endure, you've all stepped up in a big way to show incredible love & support!
As I looked out across the sky tonight as I sat down to write this post, the skyline glistened with a beautiful orange stripe.
The color orange - "Orange offers emotional strength in difficult times."
Aubin Family... Frankie, Bethany, Gavin, Kaylen & Lillian... may you find emotional strength in the days to come!