No words can describe the anguish a parent feels when they have a child in pain. There’s no comparison to the complete lock down your mind goes through when you’re waiting for a prognosis for a loved one – especially if that loved one is a defenseless two-year-old.

So, when a childhood friend of mine emailed with the news that he was campaigning for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, I immediately (although casually) thought, “How nice. Kevin’s a great guy… and what a great cause.” Then, I read his letter; and somehow, his cause became a little less casual.

I haven’t spoken to Kevin in a while; but I immediately felt his passion and how his commitment to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society would help make a difference; because he is one of those parents.

Kevin’s letter simply said:

“… on February 13, 2004, my two-year-old daughter, Ava, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL), a blood cancer that causes more deaths than any other cancer among children and young adults under age 20.

For the next 26 months, my little girl endured an aggressive chemotherapy regimen that involved multiple hospitalizations, painful procedures, and blood transfusions. Through life-saving medicine, the support of her caregivers, and the loving prayers of family and friends, her cancer is in remission and she is a strong and confident first-grader. Although considered a survivor, Ava’s blood will be monitored for cancer cells for another five years, and she faces a lifelong struggle against the after-effects of chemotherapy.

In honor of my daughter, Ava,… From now until June 13, it is my goal to raise over $60,000 in the fight against blood cancer. It is a small but meaningful way for me to “pay forward” the blessing of Ava’s continued presence in the daily life of my family and to remember those who have lost their own battle against this deadly disease.”

You may not know Kevin McDonald, but I assure you, he’s a person you’d want to know. His commitment to his family and passion for life are unequaled. I have known him since before I could shave, but never considered him anything less than a great man. We’ve shared skinned knees, silly laugh-fests, and dirt bikes races, first loves, and lost summers. And now we share the joy of being parents, but his joy is amplified by the help and support his daughter, Ava, received when she needed it most. So, now he simply wants help paying it forward.

This link, “Pay It Forward…For Ava” will take you to Kevin’s LLS donation page.

Like I said, you may not know Kevin. You may not know Ava. But if you’ve ever felt the anguish a parent feels when their child is in pain, I encourage you to help.

Thank you.

You can learn more about the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and other ways you can help by clicking the links below.