I am just a friend who offered to host a blog as a place for Tanner and her parents to journal, to leave information that might be of interest to friends and family and a place where she and her parents can visit to receive supportive words from you (and partially because it was just something I could do.) Please jump in with your comments and words of encouragement.
A word about how I know Tanner: about 10 years ago I was working with the youth at First United Methodist Church (UMC) in Franklin, TN and I heard from a mutual friend about a guy named John (Tanner’s dad) who was about to tell his youth group in another state that he had accepted an invitation and would be moving away to work with the youth at another church, Brentwood UMC, in Brentwood, TN. Having made that announcement twice myself, I knew it was a difficult thing to do, so I had developed a tradition of picking up the phone and calling anyone who was about to make it. I initially met John over the phone. After his move, we became friends, planned an overnight event together for our youth groups, crashed a coupleof restaurants on opening day, wrote a couple of curriculum pieces together including an eleven week discussion of the movie Forrest Gump. We were almost successful at editing the language out of the movie, but we had fun trying. I remember one of my first conversations with Beth (Tanner’s mom), I knew they were going to be great team. After one of all-time my favorite rehearsal dinner meals at Corky’s barbecue, my wife Celia sang at their wedding on December 11, 1999. When John and Beth moved to Jackson, TN we stopped in on a couple of times when we passed through their town. In 2000 John and Bth were some of the first people to hold my son Max when he and Beth brought dinner for four to the hospital. When Tanner was born, we returned the meal favor by taking a meal to their hospital. Last summer (2008) I taught Tanner swimming lessons. She is a confident and capable girl with her ideas about how things should go. Her strong will is going to be a great asset for her in this fight. Tanner was supposed to be swimming with me again on Monday June 1, 2009, the day she was diagnosed. How I wish we were swimming instead. Monday night I sat with Tanner for a few minutes, she let me choose the movie. She wanted French Fries and it felt strangely satisfying to do what little I could and to deliver a container of fries from Mcdonald’s. She has promised to swim with me another day and I am looking forward to it. Please send me your comments, ideas and feedback.