News for Readers of Donna’s Cancer Story

Hello, readers.  I used to joke that I had three of you.  I can’t make that joke anymore.

I am adding a link to a post written by a fellow ChicagoNow blogger, Portrait of an Adoption.  She humbles me with her interest in Donna’s Cancer Story, but also her capacity to put into words so much of what I have been thinking myself as Donna’s story has ballooned over the internet. 

While it is irrational, I know, there has been immense guilt for me about the reaction you readers must be experiencing.  Forgive me my Catholic upbringing and its inherent guilt.  The reality is that Mary Tyler Dad and I lived through Donna’s cancer in real time.  You, though, are reading it at breakneck speed — the rollerskates through museum analogy I referenced in an earlier post. 

Portrait of an Adoption is aware of that and asked to write a post directed towards the readers of Donna’s Cancer Story — you — to provide comfort and support for those readers grieving Donna.  You will find it here.  Please read it and become part of the larger community that is reading with you, in the comfort of their own home or cubicle or bathroom stall (yes, readers have confessed this particular sin to me, as a means of masking their tears).  Grief brings folks together, be it virtually or personally.  If you are grieving, as I am, please read and don’t be alone. 

Carrie has become a tremendous support through this writing project.  I am immensely grateful for her support. 

On another note, TODAY, one day only, the restaurant chain, Chili’s, will donate 100% of the day’s profits to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.  This is an opportunity to eat, drink, and be merry, all while contributing to fund such needed research to stop the beast of cancer.  Please consider taking the night off from the kitchen, as I will, and dine at Chili’s.  Thank you! 

Oh, and choose hope, folks.  Stick with me and with Donna.

14 Replies to “News for Readers of Donna’s Cancer Story”

  1. In the midst of sorrow, you still worry about us, your readers, I think I know where Donna got her largeness of spirit from. I am crying now, anew, for all the unnecessary pain that Donna experienced in her short life but also all the JOY and living she packed into it.

    (and I wish Chili’s was in Canada)


  2. My thoughts exactly ^^^^^

    Donna was amazing. I was out walking last night and had to stop myself from crying, many times, as I realized that I was grieving for Donna. Even though I never knew her, I am in love with this little girl, and grieve for her as if she were a part of my family.

    Thank you so much for writing about her.


    1. When readers tell me they are grieving Donna, that tells me that this writing project has been successful. Awareness is being raised. Thank you for being brave enough to grieve and to tell me. Keep reading, even after Donna’s Cancer Story finishes.


  3. For the past month I have been anxious to read your blog everyday. I wake up and check to see if you have posted yet and find myself hoping and praying that she has a good day (month). I can’t stop thinking of her and found myself this weekend panicked at the realization that the end of the month is so near.
    I am so grateful for this post, I was beginning to feel maybe It wasn’t normal how emotional I am feeling about this or how involved I feel with your wonderful family. I now recognize that it is grief. Grief for a beautiful angel I am blessed to ‘know.’
    Thank you for sharing this amazing journey with me. I am forever changed and will never forget your beautiful daughter.


  4. The sense of dread really is palpable in this format. Each day as the day planner flips we get closer to the end of September and the end of the story and the end of a too-short life.


  5. I have read this story since day 1. I often forget that it is not happening right now. When I read the good things, that the treatments are working, I have to stop myself from commenting how happy I am that Donna is doing better and how hopeful I am that she will recover. Then, when I remember what is happening, what has already happened the tears start. Once the tears come I feel guilty as all hell for crying and for feeling sad when I know that what I feel for this girl is not even a fraction of what you have felt and dealt with. I’m not a blogger or really much good at all with words but I had to take a second to write and to let you know that I love Donna, and even though I never met her I will never forget her or the things I’ve learned from her this month. Thank you so much for sharing.


  6. I hope you know what an amazing gift you are providing to your son….this ability to know his sister even though she is gone is quite amazing. I lost my brother when I was in kindergarten, just short of my 5th birthday. He was killed by an intoxicated driver (guess they didn’t call em drunk in those days.) just a couple days before his 13th birthday. I think sometimes my mom is from that generation where you didn’t talk about the dead once they were gone, But it makes my heart SO happy when a family member will share a story of his love for me, or that I have eyes like his….or that my son (and my brothers namesake) have the same tenacious and loving personalities. I hope that YOUR son knows every day what an amazing girl his sister is.

    Donna was and is such a beautiful gift to you and now all of us. Thank you for sharing her legacy.


  7. I had no idea so many people felt the way I have been feeling, this grief and pain of reading Donna’s story, and the joy of meeting such a beautiful little girl and such a strong family.
    My question since day 1 though is – what do I do? So far the only answer I’ve come up with is to keep on reading, tell others to read along, and to give my kids more hugs and more kisses. But honestly I feel like this is one of those moments in life when people’s paths can be changed. So I keep thinking what can I do differently with my life?
    Thank you for sharing your beautiful story.


    1. I’m now registered with my national bone marrow donor registry. And if I ever am matched with someone, it will be in memory of Donna.


  8. Thank you for writing this. I can’t imagine how it felt to go through it as a parent or the pain of having to relive it while writing about it. My heart breaks for all or you as I read each post. I can’t bring myself to not read it as difficult as it is knowing how it will end. As much as I grieve for Donna, it makes me grateful for what I have to deal with. My son is Autistic and while it is not life threatening it is a very difficult life for all. Your story puts our life in perspective and makes me appreciate the fact that all I have to deal with is Autism. You are an amazingly strong woman who I’m sure never thought of yourself as being strong but as just being a mom. Donna was lucky to have you and we are lucky that you are sharing her with us.


  9. While my heart is so heavy for you, Mary Tyler Dad, MT Son, and your families and loved ones, I admire you for telling Donna’s story for the right reasons. Not seeking pity, attention, or sympathy for yourself, not victimizing yourself, but out of honor for the beautiful soul found in your precious little girl, awareness for something, sadly, many of us so rarely consider, and in my opinion, out of love. I feel like I could only strive to be the amazing kind of woman you are, and more-so have a fraction of the strength and power I’ve come to see in Donna. Because truly, I’m not sure I would be able to have the same kind of grace and understanding I see in BOTH of you here if faced with the same challenges. I have more respect and adoration for Donna, you, and your family than I can even express. Donna is more than a name to me now, SHE is unfailing strength, love, and hope. Donna is forever in my heart.


  10. I am grieving Donna, but have also fallen completely in love with her. It’s as if she’s my child, too. And as much as I dread the final chapter of the story, I am so happy to have known her -just a little. It’s crazy,right? To be so sad and so grateful all at the same time.
    You were so blessed to have had her, Mary Tyler Family. She was a bright,shining light in this world. Thank you.


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