Several months ago, I saw this photo on the front of the Seattle Times and it grabbed my attention--I am a sucker for those real-life stories that are thoughtfully written and poignant. I initially though to myself--Wow, I had no idea there could be teen mothers that were this young! The title I'm going to make it. even supported my initial impression.
Intrigued by the photo, I read on to discover that I was mistaken. This was not the story of an incredibly young teenage mother, but that of Gloria Strauss, an 11-year old girl who had been living with neuroblastoma since her initial diagnosis at the age of 7. A child in a family of six with strong Catholic beliefs, Gloria is a spirited, super-cute and refreshingly upbeat kiddo. After Gloria undergoes an unsuccessful stem cell transplant and multiple rounds of chemotherapy (including several experimental regimens) which fail to cure her cancer, she and her family finally come to a decision: that it's time to let go and let God.
It's an amazing series. The Strauss family's willingness to lay naked their fears, hopes, and beliefs are unsurpassed. Writer Jerry Brewer justifies the risk they take by portraying eloquently and inclusively all the family members and the dynamics of Gloria's illness. Very early on in Gloria's ordeal, her mother heard God speak to her. She was told that Gloria would be afflicted with incurable cancer, but that when her daughter was healed, the lives of many would be changed.
While I'm sad to say that today Gloria has passed on, I can truthfully say that she has touched the lives of many. And maybe yours, too if you care to read more about it starting with this article, A prayer for Gloria: Coach's daughter fights cancer.