this is bravery.

Eleven years ago yesterday, January 24, the world lost a brave prince named Liam.

He was 7 years old.

He lost his battle to cancer, but it was not without a fight.

Which is why we remember him as brave.

I have vivid memories watching Liam do the arts and crafts projects on the 7th floor of Memorial Sloan Kettering while visiting with my 5 year old twin daughters, answering their questions on the way home with hope and promise, telling them that he’d be okay.

He’d always choose the orange beads at the bracelet-making table, it was his favorite color, and it seemed he was always, somehow, smiling. Despite the setting he was forced to be in, despite the pain.

That is what bravery means. Smiling in the face of pain and the unknown. That is one of the lessons I learned from Liam.

Liam was not only brave but was also a prince because he was merciful and truthful, the way so many children innocently are. I remember him running up to hug me at the preschool drop off for my girls, sometimes in his astronaut costume, about to fly into space. Other times he was in his fireman outfit, ready to save others.

After his death, his mom, dad & sister took their unfathomable pain and channeled it into the organization that I love whole-heartedly, Cookies for Kids Cancer.

Over the last decade, CFKC has funded 115 research projects and $20 million granted in sight to save children just like Liam. They have mobilized 14,000 organizers, pediatric cancer researchers, and other kids who will benefit from the treatments they fund.

In the months that followed his loss, I remember having to tell my young daughters “cancer is so rare,” in the hopes that they would not close their eyes and think it would happen to them too, overnight.

But the truth is, cancer is not rare. In fact, pediatric cancer is the number one disease killer of kids in the United States. And yet, despite the fact that we will hand our world to our children, we so rarely see it in the news and it takes a backseat in many of our policy conversations.

So what can we do?

What we CAN do is support organizations like Cookies for Kids Cancer, either by donating, organizing a bake sale with your kids, or simply spreading the word about their good work. Sometimes simply telling others and inspiring them to support can have the greatest impact.

Later today, I will walk with my girls and Jack to the fire station that is 5 blocks away from our home and do our twice a year cookie drop off.

We visit every year as a reminder. Liam’s mom Gretchen used to take him to visit the firetrucks and firemen as a playful balance to all of the hospital visits (he’d usually scooter there). It was a way to support his dream to one day become a fireman and help others.

Our brave prince was such a slice of joy for the fireman that they donated and decorated a locker just for Liam. His locker is still there today.

As you know, I strongly believe in synchronicity, and find it remarkable that the firehouse where Liam’s locker lives is Engine 1, Ladder 24. That’s 1/24.

Liam died on 1/24.

And while he never got to become a fireman, his spirit, his family and his supporters continue to help others.

With fierce love,

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