The Best Facebook Post I've Seen in a Long Time

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My favorite posts on Facebook are ones that share something honest and meaningful – an opinion, a thought, a perspective, an experience. Of all my friends, the one who does this most consistently is Milan Chakraborty, an old college buddy who is now a film producer.

While Milan was in Louisville, Ky., this week to promote his film “Produce,” a heartwarming story about the unique friendship formed between a washed up pro baseball player and a young grocery clerk with Down syndrome, he had an experience at Indian Summer Camp he couldn’t help but share. This is what he wrote on Facebook:

Yesterday was an amazing day. I was asked to go visit a summer camp. The weeklong camp is for kids battling cancer. It was a battle to not cry hearing stories of kids that have come to the camp and passed away. Their names are commemorated on a totem pole so they are never forgotten at the camp. Hearing stories of kids telling counselors that they wanted to be “Robbie” not Robert on the pole when they die and calling out exactly where they want to be put on the pole. Really? I was surprised they so openly talked about death but as a counselor pointed out, they acknowledge it. They do not dwell on it. What an inspirational viewpoint. But while there were moments of sadness, I was filled with the sights of kids (6-18) running, playing, screaming and having the time of their lives because this one week they get to be like every other kid. They deserve that. Met a lot of warriors fighting battles kids should not have to deal with but they are doing it with grace and dignity. I look forward to figuring out a way to help Kids Cancer Alliance. I pray these kids get a chance to live a long healthy life. Great people doing great things for over 32 years.

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When I asked Milan if I could share this Facebook post on The Mighty, he said yes but wanted to add one more insight he picked up while at the camp:

“It was disheartening to learn that while so much money is raised for cancer research, only a small percentage is allocated to pediatric cancer. When I asked why, I was told, ‘They don’t believe it’s cost beneficial. There’s not enough customers.’ That made my heart drop.”

Sharing an experience like this on social media is not always easy, but it resonates like few other things can. Milan’s Facebook post had nearly 200 likes and a wonderful stream of comments that showed that his little story made an impact on a lot of people, including me.

Thanks, Milan. I couldn’t help but share it with others too.

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via Indian Summer Camp Facebook

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Cancer Patient's Son Gets Once-in-a-Lifetime Beatles Surprise

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When Cali Tobias was diagnosed with breast cancer — and most recently, ovarian cancer — her mind went straight to her children.

I need to make sure I have as many fun memories with my kids as I can while I’m still here,” she told ABC News. As part of that mission, Tobias set out to find tickets to a Ringo Starr concert because her 5-year-old son, King, is a Beatles superfan.

King has loved the Fab Four since he was just a toddler. So, at the concert, when his mom surprised him with backstage passes (where Starr was waiting to meet his biggest fan), the 5-year-old got a once-in-a-lifetime memory.

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via Instagram
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via Instagram

Starr let King play on his drum set. He also danced along when King strummed “Day Tripper” for him. Tobias posted a video of the mini performance to Instagram (below).

“To see my son’s face light up like that was everything to me because that’s what I want,” Tobias told ABC News. “I want these memories with my children.”

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Heroic Photo Shoot Turns Kids With Cancer Into Superheroes

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Linda Webb doesn’t shy away from calling children with cancer “superheroes.” She uses the term, not to trivialize the disease, but because she’s seen firsthand how much strength and determination it takes to go through cancer treatments — especially for a young child.

“These kids are superheroes,” Webb told The Mighty in an email. “Maybe that term is overused but certainly not in the case of these kids.”

Webb is the executive director of Ally’s House, an nonprofit in Oklahoma that financially supports families of children with cancer. She’s more importantly the mother of Ally, who passed away from kidney cancer just before her third birthday in 2003. To Webb, Ally was courageous and strong even when she felt scared and weak. To Webb, she was a superhero.

Webb took that heroic image in her head and brought it to photographers Lora Scantling and Christy Goodger (who photographed a viral photo of three young cancer survivors). She then approached three families involved with Ally’s House and asked if their kids would be interested in being costume-donning superheroes for a day.

“[The parents] loved the idea,” Webb said. “They never hesitated and had no reservations about the images promoting childhood cancer awareness.”

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In the images above, you’ll meet Charlie (Batman), Jayla (Wonder Woman) and Garrett (Superman). Charlie has recently gone into remission, according to Webb, while Nikki is still undergoing treatments. But Garrett, 8, passed away on June 29, 2014, not long after the photo shoot. He struggled on the day of the shoot, Webb says, but he wanted to be there, wearing his costume. It seems appropriate then, that his image would go the most viral.

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“It seemed every Facebook and Instagram user in the Oklahoma City area changed their profile picture to that image for days or weeks,” Webb told The Mighty. Garrett’s parents asked that donations be made to Ally’s House in his obituary.

“[Garrett] was such an amazing little boy and inspired everyone who knew him,” photographer Scantling told The Mighty. “I am just glad we got the pictures so that his parents and friends and family have those forever.”

Follow Ally’s House on Facebook and visit the website here.

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New Photos Reveal Wonderful News for the Girls in This Viral Picture

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Earlier this year, a photograph of three young girls, all battling different forms of cancer, went viral on Facebook. The picture from Scantling and Goodger photography features the words, “Sometimes strength comes in knowing you are not alone,” above 3-year-old Rylie (left), 6-year-old Rheann (center) and 4-year-old Ainsley (right). More than half a million people liked the image on Facebook in less than one day.

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Lora Scantling / Goodger Photography

Now, Oklahoma-based photographer Lora Scantling tells the The Mighty that Rylie’s most recent scans show she is cancer-free, Rheann has recently gone into remission and Ainsley is still in remission with continued maintenance. Scantling regularly keeps in touch with the girls’ parents to check in on their health.

“I have always been one to get attached to all my clients,” she told The Mighty, “but these three girls have really just snuggled their way in to a very special spot in my heart.”

Here are the girls today:

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If you’d like to purchase a print of the original photograph, head here. Proceeds go toward the families of the three girls to help with medical expenses. A portion will also go to the Jimmy Everest Center Oklahoma University Children’s Hospital.

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The Mighty, in partnership with Fuck Cancer, is asking the following: What do you wish you had found on Google when you were first diagnosed? Find out how to email us a story submission here.

 

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Cancer Patient and Nurse Give Positively Charming 'Frozen' Performance

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We thought we’d had enough of “Frozen,” but a 7-year-old cancer patient named Kamryn and a nurse named Tom have changed our minds.

In the video below, the pair sing and lip-sync “Love Is An Open Door” from the Disney movie, and the performance is positively charming. Kamryn’s mom, Andrea Slater, posted the clip to Facebook.

“So the bad news is that we’ve been in the hospital getting a blood transfusion,” Slater wrote. “But the good news is that we met the most awesome nurse Tom, who happens to be a fan of the movie Frozen. This just happened! Lol.”

Kamryn’s been fighting cancer since April, when doctors found a large tumor, known as a Wilms’ tumor, on her kidney, according to her fundraising page. She’s currently undergoing radiation and chemotherapy treatments at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.

If you’d like to help support #TeamKamryn, head here.

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The Mighty, in partnership with Fuck Cancer, is asking the following: What do you wish you had found on Google when you were first diagnosed? Find out how to email us a story submission here.

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This Girl's 'Roar' Music Video Deserves a Standing Ovation.

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Five-year-old Addy doesn’t have an iTunes #1 hit, but she’s a pop superstar in our book.

Addy, from Alexandria, Va., was diagnosed with stage IV cancer in March 2013. While in the hospital, she often listened to music on YouTube to keep her spirits up. So when Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic told her to name her wish, she knew she wanted to star in her own music video, just like her favorite singer, Katy Perry.

To celebrate beating cancer, Make-A-Wish helped Addy recreate Perry’s “Roar” video, where the wish kid dons a purple wig and goes from singing into a hairbrush in her bedroom to performing in a sold-out football stadium.

Take a look:


The Mighty, in partnership with Fuck Cancer, is asking the following: What do you wish you had found on Google when you were first diagnosed? Find out how to email us a story submission here.

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