26 August 2010

Planet You and Cate - These Words Are Not My Own

Every now and again something touches my heart in a way that makes me want to laugh and cry at the same time.  It makes me want to question why things happen and how we can help to make them better.  This is such a moment.

I was reading the latest blog from one of my all time favourite bloggers - Cate Bolt - and was so moved I  needed to repeat it here.  I'm not going to try and explain as I think the original says it much better than me - all I ask is that you read, listen and perhaps, should you be so moved, help :)

My thanks to Cate for allowing me to reproduce her work here :)

These Words Are Not My Own by Cate Bolt

At night in silence the tears trickle down my cheek,
This cancer inside my brain is called Medulloblastoma,
In my heart I know this is Gods plan for me,
Yet I didn’t know if I was ready to travel this journey.

They pump the toxic drugs into me hoping for a cure,
The treatment is frightening and makes me so ill,
My platelets are low my body has bruises that are all black and blue,
Forever my life has changed and will never be the same.

I look in the mirror and hardly recognise myself,
The person I was is no longer there the girl looking back is someone new,
Resilience is what I need now to fight this battle,
I need to find the power to be strong, positive and courageous.
So many people are praying for and thinking of me,
I am touched by their kindness I shed another tear,
They give me strength to carry on even on days when all goes wrong,
My light is rekindled and I want to keep it burning brightly.

I will keep fighting as hard as I possibly can,
There are dreams I have for my future and I want to achieve them,
Cancer is a demon that tries to take away happiness,
But it won’t win for I know I want to be a survivor!

It’s funny how a random sequence of events can lead you to a place that you’d never imagined you’d be. The words above, as the title suggests, are not my own. They are – believe it or not – the words of a 12-year-old school girl. Her name is Dainere.

Just under a year ago, my kids and I made a video for a competition run by Australia Zoo. Actually, my kids made it, I stood back in awe of what my kids had learnt at school about film and television and realised how damn old I was. That video won them second prize and they had so much fun doing it that they decided that they wanted to do more.

So between us we came up with an idea to create a video series that would do what they loved doing – educate and inspire others. We had some awesome people jump behind us and throw in their talents to create the branding and website. We had some sponsors throw their money & products at us and we interviewed hundreds of kids to find out what they were most worried about.

What started as a “bit of fun” quickly turned into a LOT of work and an expensive exercise which we’ve continued to fund because we believe the end outcome will be worth every cent.

If you’ve followed us along the way, you’ve probably got sick of hearing about who we’re interviewing and not seeing the end result. Unfortunately the sad reality is that every 1 minute of end video is the result of TEN HOURS of work, so every 10 minute video takes 100 hours to produce, and with 10 videos in the series …I’ll let you do the maths.

The plus side to all of this is that we’ve had the opportunity to meet some AMAZING people. We’ve been more educated and inspired ourselves than what we ever anticipated we would be. When we put out the call to find a child with cancer who we could interview for Planet You, several people pointed us towards Dainere.

Ash & Dainere 

Dainere Anthoney is 12 years old. In 2009 she was diagnosed with Medulloblastoma, I’ve included some very roughly edited footage from the interview we did with Dainere and she describes the journey she has been through far better than I could ever hope to.
When the Starlight Foundation offered to grant Dainere a wish, there were so many things that she could have wished for, so many things that everyone would have wanted her to have – for her. But Dainere didn’t want anything for herself. What she wanted was to help others. Dainere represents everything that we hoped to produce in Planet You with a selflessness that we’ve never ever experienced before.

Dainere’s wish was to have her blog published as a book. She wanted this so that other children who would have to travel her path could have something to read and know what to expect. She wanted to ease the unknown and provide comfort to others. If that wasn’t enough, she wanted the funds to be donated to the Sydney Children’s Hospital Foundation – Brain Tumor Fund so that one day, perhaps they could find a cure.

I was concerned about doing this interview, as a mother. I knew that Ash would be incapable of meeting this inspiring young lady without becoming emotionally involved. In preparation for the interview Ash read every page of Dainere’s book from cover to cover and instead of becoming upset by the injustice of such a beautiful human having been dealt such a terrible hand – he got inspired.

The Planet You team decided that this book was too important to be limited to a short run and that it needed to be available to every child, Australia wide. So they’ve set themselves the task of having the book in every school library around the country. In order to do this, however, we will need to pay for a reprint at a cost of $15,000.  

Dainere has done the hard work in writing this amazing book. Planet You will work tirelessly to ensure that Dainere’s dream is realised and that her words can benefit others. We need YOU to help us raise the money required for the reprint.

I’ve done a rough edit of the interview that we did with Dainere just 1 month ago. I’ve never attempted to edit a video before, so you’ll have to excuse – I don’t know how to do the fancy things that my teenagers can do!

Dainere now has trouble thinking to form answers as she speaks and her speech has been impaired by her treatment. We gave Dainere the opportunity to write her answers before the interview so that she could read them and be confident in her answers. It’s hard to believe that she’s only 12. Please watch…

Since recording this footage, Dainere’s condition has worsened and she has lost the use of her right arm. She is having seizures and will travel again to Sydney on Sept 5 for more tests.

We intend to make sure that while Dainere may never benefit from the money the book will raise for Brain Tumor research, she will see her legacy in her lifetime and know that her book will provide light and hope to children Australia-wide.

On the right side of this blog there is a widget that says Sydney Children’s Hospital Fund – you can donate directly through Paypal. You can also use the “add to site” button to put this widget on your own blog. Please give generously so that Dainere can see her dream become reality.

**This fund raising is done under authority from the Sydney Children’s Hospital Fund Authorisation number #1510 the beneficiary is the Brain Tumour Rehabilitation Program and all donations over $2 are tax deductable – receipts will be issued by the Sydney Children’s Hospital Fund.

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