My Mom, Cancer and the Chicago Bears

Originally published – August 27, 2013

My mother has cancer.

It started in her lungs, though she’s a nonsmoker. I always feel inclined to say that she never smoked, because lung cancer has such a negative connotation. But she was never a smoker. Ever.

I haven’t been real vocal about it. When my mom was diagnosed about 2 years ago, she didn’t want everyone to know. She shared it with family and church friends, and eventually people at work. So, respecting her wishes, and the fact that I’m not an over sharer on social media, I haven’t posted Facebook statuses requesting prayers or thoughts, or how hard it is to be 800 miles away while my mother battles cancer. But all of those things are things at some point I would have liked to post. It was one of the hardest parts about moving to Chicago. But my mom told me to live my life.

Cancer sucks. Treatment sucks just as bad if not worse. If I ever get this news I may pack up and head for the beach. I fear my mother is at the end of this battle. But, that isn’t the topic of this post. My mother deserves her own post reflecting on her life, and I promise I will get to that some day soon.

This post is about the two organizations. It Ain’t Chemo  and the Chicago Bears.

Now, I grew up on the Bears, though I’m not sure why. I mean, we lived in Oklahoma with no NFL affiliation to speak of. Most folks around that area love the Dallas Cowboys or the Kansas City Chiefs. But our house was a Bear’s house. I remember my mom in her Bears jersey on the couch watching football before I knew what first down meant. I think it was all about William “Refrigerator” Perry. He was a legend in our house and we loved to watch him.

So, fast forward to today.

My stepfather was in contact with “It Ain’t Chemo” out of Las Vegas, Nevada. They provided a wonderful care package including a heavy blanket and hat for my mother to keep her warm during treatment.  Recently, they reached out and asked if there was anything more they could do. My stepfather mentioned how much Mom loved Refrigerator Perry and how he would love to take her to see him at a speaking engagement or some appearance.

Well, the Fridge is off the circuit. Turns out he is sick too. But “It Ain’t Chemo” worked with the Bears. The Chicago Bears sent my mom a care package with an Official Wilson Team Football, two team flags, two pencils, two team decals, an official team fleece, a team yearbook and a letter thanking her for supporting the team and encouraging her.

It brought my stepdad to tears to tell me about it. It brought me to tears to hear about it.

Now I don’t know if this is a regular program or if every NFL team does something similar. Honestly, if they do, I think it’s great.

But this act of kindness at an extremely difficult time for my mother, my stepfather and my family, means so much to us all. I thought it deserved mention.

I count myself lucky to live in this City and raise my family here.

So, visit these pages, like them and comment. Here’s my comment, feel free to use it:

Thank you for the work you do and the support you showed my mother with the Care Package as she battles cancer. Your organization is amazing. I will be an “It Ain’t Chemo ” & Chicago Bears fan for life. Thank you – From the Shirley Jones Prayer Team!

Bears Facebook

It Ain’t Chemo Prayer Warriors Facebook

Appreciate today. Turn it up some and appreciate today.

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