Remembering Rhonda 2017

Rhonda is my mom. She was a fiery redhead, stubborn, and loved any and all sports. She usually had a book within an arm's length and could spout off all sorts of random facts about old, English queens. She had the loudest sneeze in America and a contagious laugh. She wasn't a great apologizer, but would do anything for just about anyone. She is Owen's (and now Everett and Claire's) Grammy. She loved Jesus, even when her path was hard. 

On March 17, 2011, during a hysterectomy, a large tumor was found on her liver. We later found out she had Stage 4 Colon Cancer. She was 47. For 2 years, she fought. While she fought, she continued to live. She became a Grammy in that time and nothing in the world made her happier. For 2 years, she endured endless chemos, blood draws, good news, and bad news. On March 17, 2013, exactly 2 years later, she left us and her body was made whole and perfect. She was 49.Her passing left a huge void in a lot of people's lives. If I'm being honest, her passing felt unfair and terrible. I began to pray that God would use all of my hurt and pain for some good. 

Shortly after, Remembering Rhonda was born. Each year, we raise money in her honor to give to the people she was most passionate about- her fellow cancer warriors. These were her people. She loved them and now we use her memory to help us show them that love. We also celebrate 'Remembering Rhonda' day on Oct 2nd, her birthday, by doing acts of kindness for people affected by cancer.Thank you for joining me on this journey and still being my friend even when I post 6382829 times between now and Oct 2. Seeing God bring beauty from these ashes is so tender to my aching heart. 

How we will help this year: Meet Briella. She is a beautiful 12 (almost 13) year old girl from my (and my mom's) hometown of Snyder, Texas. After a few months of headaches she was officially diagnosed in April with DIPG-diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma. She and her family have been to St Jude's in Memphis TN where they participated in a study trial for 6 weeks with a new chemo drug and radiation. They also have had a shunt placed to help with some of the fluid in her brain. They went back to St. Jude in early July for a new baseline MRI and met pet scans. They will also be traveling back in October for a follow up scan, and also be discussing their next steps for treatment. As you can imagine, the life of Briella and her family has been turned upside down. I've been following their story for awhile and seeing my hometown rallying around the family has been amazing. The strength and love I have seen in Briella and her family has also been inspiring. We are honored to have them be our 2017 Remembering Rhonda family. 3/4 of the money raised will go directly to Briella's family! As we start Remembering Rhonda each year, my inbox gets floodied with all of the families hurting by cancer. It breaks my heart to not be able to support more of them. So this year, we will be using 1/4 of the money to gift several families with a 'Blessing Box' full of $250 worth of gift cards to grocery stores, restaurants, gift shops- anywhere to brighten their day and lessen their load!

All of your donations will be deposited in my personal bank account and then combined with the money we raise from the t-shirt sales and Owen's lemonade stand. My family will go visit Briella's family and present them with a check.
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Beth Vela 
Midland, TX
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