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The day after Thanksgiving in 2012, our world was turned upside down. One of the youngest members of our family, Brooklyn, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, which is a very aggressive childhood cancer. She was 14 months old.
The news was devastating to us all, and there were several days of confusion, tests, tears and waiting, but we quickly came together knowing we would do everything we had to do to help carry Daniel, Erin and Brooklyn through this long, hard ordeal. We are a very large, but very close, immediate family and we knew we had their backs.
And we were right. But we also were wrong.
Because we are Brooklyn’s grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, we are going to do everything we need to do to help her and her parents through this. But this isn’t about just us supporting her, not even close. It is so much bigger than us.
The first fundraiser was just 13 days after she was diagnosed, and we estimate a little more than 1,000 people attended. We were overwhelmed. We were so grateful and so very blessed. It was an experience like no other, but it was only the beginning. Donations began to tumble in, friends began starting other fundraisers, bloggers began spreading her story, and even strangers offered help. And in the flurry of support, we began to realize Brooklyn has become the beneficiary of the love and support of an amazing community.
In a short time, we were given devastating news, quickly rallied together and vowed to fight with all our might. We came to the realization this fight was going to be very long and tremendously difficult — but almost as quickly as the question of how we are going to do this entered our thoughts, the Elizabethtown community answered with, “We have your backs.”
This long road has just begun and already thousands of people have given. They have given prayers, well wishes, donations, time and talent. Any by giving of themselves, they have given us hope and faith. Together, we can do this.
We have tried to thank everyone who has given anything, be we know there are people we have missed. We want everyone to know how extremely thankful we are for all their support. Even the smallest donations and the simplest acts of kindness continue to lift us up. There is no way to describe the gratitude we feel, and no way we ever can repay the generosity except to say thank you.
The Disselkamp Family