Friday, October 19, 2012

Pink Out!! Support a Survivor

Note: To Collect all of the Pink Out messages in one place, I started a new page. Check it out here.

Howdy Blogosphere!  I'll return to my regular updates next week. I wanted to take some time out of "our" stuff and look around.  It's always good to gain a little perspective, especially in a month like this one where our nation has decided to honor survivors.  So today, I have a homework assignment for us.

I don't know if we've managed to collect a group of friends with uniquely big challenges, or if it's simply true that people all around us are quietly climbing Everest every day and we just don't know it.  Either way, people dear to us have faced some truly huge hurdles, and heartbreaks, over the past year.  Some have lost children; some have been faced with major illness; some have seen marriages fall apart. What I find truly remarkable about so much tragedy, though, is how much love and hope follow it.  This year, I've been awed not only at the strength of the people around us fighting giants, but also by the incredible compassion and care that surrounded them.

What got me thinking about this is the fact that it's October. Today is Pink Out Day at Howie's school.  As I dressed him in his pink ribbon shirt, it made me think "man, I have to remember to take a picture of Howie for my friend Kelly."  Kelly Beatty is Exhibit A on my list of friends who've had an incredibly hard year, and her family pretty much stays at the top of the Hicks family prayer list.  I've been friends with Kelly and her husband Max (whom I sit next to at work every day) for several years, and they're awesome people.  They have two kids: Jack, who's about to be four, and Scarlett, who's about to be two.  Here's a picture of Kelly and the kids.  Max is not in the picture because he avoids being photographed like the plague.

The mayhem started for the Beattys late last summer, when Scarlett, who wasn't even a year old, started having major seizures.  They often hit when the Beattys least expected it, without any rhyme or reason.  Doctors have run all manner of tests on her and tried several medications, but they still don't really know what causes them. Needless to say, this family has spent more than their fair share of time in emergency rooms this year.  Although Scarlett is doing better now than she was a year ago, this is an ongoing issue for the Beatty family. So friends of a praying persuasion, keep them coming.   

As if an oft-sick little one is not enough of a mountain to climb, though, the Beattys had an even tougher hike to tackle this year.  In January, Kelly was diagnosed with breast cancer. At 32.  Honestly, I had a hard time wrapping my head around it; so I can't imagine how she did.  Kelly's mom battled breast cancer, so they knew, genetically speaking, it was something they'd have to face. But not at 32! With two babies at home! Holy buckets!  If there's any good news in the situation, it's that the doctors were able to remove all of the cancer surgically, and she has not had to undergo chemo or radiation as a follow up.  Several surgeries later, Kelly's reconstruction is (hopefully) finished, and soon she will be able to put this fight behind her. With Kelly's genetics, this probably won't be her last fight, though, so again, please "pray without ceasing" for this family.

The Beattys' story is a hard one to hear; it really makes your heart hurt that one family would have to deal with so much.  But I'll tell you this: as much pain, fear, and difficulty as this year has brought them, I think it's brought even more love and hope.  It has certainly given me hope watching the story unfold.  

As soon as Max and Kelly broke the news about her cancer, their friends and family jumped into action.  People volunteered to help with the children, others sent flowers and wrote encouraging cards for Kelly and the family. People in the office covered Max's work so he could be with his family. Their friends from law school (some of whom they hadn't seen in over five years) took up a collection to hire a chef so that Kelly wouldn't have to worry about feeding the family while she was recovering from surgery. Other friends took up a collection to help defray the cost of the new wardrobe Kelly would need post-reconstruction.  Every one of their friends of faith reached out to their own prayer networks (I think I saw two dozen of them messaging out, just on Facebook!); second, third, fourth, even fifth degree friends were praying for the Beattys.  I lack both the wall space and the mental capacity to try and map out how many people were talking to God about this family--many of them folks the Beattys will never meet. 

One of the most amazing things, though, was something Max did for Kelly.  He bought hundreds of those pink breast cancer support bracelets.  He mailed them everywhere, asking people to take pictures with them and send them to Kelly, to let her know she was loved and supported far and wide.  I gave them to a number of my friends who heard Kelly's story and wanted to show their support, and I have those to post. But the pictures I have here are only a fraction of what came Kelly's way. 

This "strength network" that Max built for Kelly is what I thought of this morning when I put Howie's shirt on him.  So I'm posting that picture here, along with as many of the "strength" pictures as I can find.  And with a week-ish left in October, here's what I'd ask of you readers:
  1. Take a picture of yourself in pink and post it on your FB profile with an encouraging note for Kelly.  Not a pink fan? Then how about a picture posing with strong arm muscles? Or making a heart with your hands? Holding a pink prop? 
  2. Include a message of encouragement with your picture. It can be personal ("I <3 Kelly") or general ("Survivors rock my socks!"), serious ("Praying for You"), or funny ("I brake for boobies!").
  3. If you post a picture, let me know, and I will tag Kelly in it. She's at home now recovering from her most recent surgery, and I know that it would really raise her spirits to have an entire page of pink when she signs on Facebook the rest of the month.
Know others who have fought this fight/are fighting this fight?  Tag them in our "pink" pictures also.  Who knows how far this Pink Out can stretch!


  1. I am proud to say that is my family's braceleted wrist at the top. We love and support and the Beatty family from afar and all families who have had to suffer through such tragic illness. As a show of our support we pinked out today!

  2. I feel honored and proud to call you my friend. That was beautiful and a tearjerker for me. Thank you so much for all of your support. Kelly Beatty