Saturday, December 14, 2013

Sad news

My family received some devastating news yesterday, and it's all I've really been able to think about. I've written a few times here about Mark, a friend of our family who has special needs. He's been pretty sick, and went into the hospital a couple of days ago. Well, he just found out that he has lung cancer, and it's terminal. It spread to his liver, his brain, his spine--basically all over.

Until I was 15 years old, my family lived in a small town about 20 minutes away from where we are now. There is a group home for adults with special needs there, and one of the residents, Mark, could always be seen out walking through the neighborhoods, getting some fresh air. My dad befriended him (about 35 years ago), and several times a year, picks him up from the group home and takes him fishing, or to Cabela's, or just to my parents house to hang out. His birthday is on Halloween, so every Halloween, we have a small party for him at my parents' house, and then he sticks around to help pass out candy.

Jerry, Mark, and me, this past Halloween
Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, mainly for the fact that it's also Mark's birthday. Mark is the very definition of the word "grateful". Whenever we ask what he wants for his birthday, he just says, "Oh, any old thing, I don't need anything. I got everything I need!" In terms of possessions, he really doesn't have much of anything, but he is SO happy. It's such a joy to give him a gift, because he is just so grateful, and will thank you a dozen times, like it's the best thing he's ever gotten.

Unfortunately, Mark only has one living relative, a nephew who he only just met recently. He was orphaned when he was very young (I believe he was eight years old). That was also the extent of his education. He was passed around to different homes for a while, and then was placed in his current group home. He's been living there for nearly his entire life, so it's really the only home he knows. Which makes this whole thing even harder, because Mark will have to spend his last days in the hospital, or a nursing home, which could be for a year! From what my dad told me, they can't take him back into the group home, the home he loves, because they aren't equipped to handle his cancer.

When I heard the news of his cancer, I was so heart-broken. I think it's so unfair that it had to happen to him. He's only his his mid-50's, and he's so content with his very simple life. I wanted to do something for him, and since he's so happy with what he has, giving him things isn't going to help.

I decided to rent a P.O. Box, and ask for your help in making him feel cared about. I'm not asking for donations, but I am asking all of you to please send him a "get well soon" card. We know that, short of a miracle, he's not going to get well; but I think he would be overjoyed to get cards from all over the world, wishing him well. He has no idea what a blog is, so he doesn't know about Runs for Cookies; but I'll explain to him that you're my friends, and I told you about him.

Here is the P.O. Box address where you can send cards. I'll collect them, bring them to the hospital, and read them to him (he's not able to read).

(Update: I've removed the address. Mark passed away in March 2014. Thank you all SO VERY MUCH for every single card, drawing, picture, letter, gift, and well-wish you sent! Mark really cherished them, and his bed was surrounded by the cards and pictures you sent.)

I would absolutely love for him to receive hundreds of well-wishes, and I thank you in advance for doing this. It means so much to me! If you pray, please say a prayer for him; and if not, please send some positive thoughts his way.


My brothers and sister are going to be in town this weekend, so I probably won't get a chance to write tomorrow. I'll resume with Motivational Monday, if I don't write tomorrow. Have a great weekend!

52 comments:

  1. I'm so sorry about your friend! I will get a card tomorrow and send out on Monday.

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  2. I was just about to write out my Christmas cards....I'll include him in my list and add some get well wishes and prayers!

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    1. And I'm also going to post this on my facebook....I have friends overseas who (I hope) would do this!

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  3. I'm sorry to hear about your friend as well! How thoughtful of you to invite us to take part in wishing him well! I will certainly get a card in the mail to him this week. :)

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  4. I've been following your blog for over a year now, and I love when you write about him. I seriously teared up seeing the picture thinking he passed unexpectedly. As soon as I post this I'm going to send a card; this is so very awesome. I'm sure your family will continue to see him! I wish I could come give him a hug, he seems like an amazing guy!

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  5. Would a Christmas card mean a lot to him to receive as well? I would be happy to add him to my list for Christmas cards this year too!

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    1. Of course! Any kind of card, postcard, letter, picture, whatever you feel like sending would be very much appreciated!

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  6. I will pick up a card tomorrow and send to him. What a wonderful thing for you to do for him.

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  7. oh wow.. what sad news. i'm so so so sorry to hear this. it's never an easy bit of news to hear and carry in your heart.
    it would make me so happy to send him a card

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  8. What a beautiful thing you are doing for Mark. I will pop a card in the mail on Monday.

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  9. chrissy (trampoline girl)December 15, 2013 at 1:12 AM

    I'm so sorry Katie :(! Every time you write about him it's obvious that he is such a special guy and also part of your family! I will send a card in the next couple days and I'll have my kids make one too! I'll be sending good thoughts his way!

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  10. I'm so sorry to hear this! He looks so happy. I teared up reading this post. :( Prayers and cards coming his/your way!

    --Mave

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  11. You should post this request to your facebook post so it can get liked and the word may spread like wildfire!

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    1. I plan to... just have to figure out how to say it in a nutshell on Facebook. Thanks for the suggestion :)

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  12. Oh, Katie, I am so sad to hear about this. I've always loved reading about Mark on your blog. I will definitely pick up a card for him and hope it brightens his day to know that so many people care about him.

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  13. So happy Mark has your family in his life. My card will be in the mail shortly.

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  14. That's the thing about cancer. We know it's bad, but we don't HATE the disease until it hit someone we love. My mother was diagnosed with a nasty form of breast cancer in her mid 50s. I'm so lucky she survived, but my heart broke too many times that year I took her to surgery, chemo, radiation etc. It's so awful! WIll make a card and hope to get it in the mail later this week <3

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  15. My heart breaks for Mark & your family! I will send him SEVERAL get well wishes. Is there anything that he dearly likes (like Starbucks? And I can send a $5 gift card for a nice llate or something?)

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    1. It's funny you mention Starbucks, because he really does like coffee! I doubt he's ever had Starbucks, so that would definitely be a treat for him :) Thanks for thinking of him!

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  16. Oh my goodness, I am so sorry. Hopefully his last days/months are as pain free as a possible.

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  17. So sorry to hear this. Just wrote out my card and it will be in the mail from Tampa, FL tomorrow!

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  18. I'm so sorry to hear about your friend, you can count on my letter/card to be in the Mail tomorrow!

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  19. I am so sorry about your friend! I will definitely send a card!

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  20. Picked up a card right after I read this. Will drop it in the mail on Monday.

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  21. will do.....Robin

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  22. It´s the first time I found my way here - it´s a very touching post to read and I´ll definately send him a postcard all the way from Sweden (where I live). I´m glad he has you, many in his situation doesn´t have anyone.

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  23. I remember reading about Mark. This sis so sad. You can just see what a good guy he is. I'll get a card this week. :)

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  24. Katie

    It's addressed and sealed.... just waiting for the post office to open in the morning. .

    I'll be praying for him and your family. What an amazing gift he is....and you are to him. We should all be so lucky to be loved completely unconditionally.

    Please ask the staff to look in to getting him set up on Hospice when the time comes. It will ensure that he's comfortable and those Hospice folks.... are angels on earth.

    If you can think of anything else he needs... or wants.... or your family does, please post it... I'll hep in any way possible.

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  25. I'll be throwing a card in tomorrow's mail. I'm so sorry, cancer is so horrible.

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  26. I got a card for Mark from the local craft fair and it's in my mail box. I'm so sorry to hear he is so sick.

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  27. I'm sending a card from Canada Katie! So sorry to hear of this news...

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  28. So sad to hear this news. You're such a special person to do this for him. I'll be sending a card tomorrow.

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  29. Oh I am so sorry. What terrible news. Cancer just flat out sucks! Im sending out our Christmas cards this week and I'll be sure to drop one in the mail for him.
    Prayers in abundance going out for you and Mark!

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  30. I thought about a drive down there, I am about 40 miles North of you near Sterling Heights. Aside from a card, what about a visit? It saddens me to hear such things as this, I don't like to think about it either. My mom passed away from breast cancer 8 years ago, and it's still very hard to deal with. Visiting is just a thought, I would not want to intrude, but I have a couple of weeks off from work and so does my son. My son loves to help others, maybe we can bake some cookies to bring to him, and share a cup of coffee with him. Katie, could you possibly email me. I have an idea up my sleeve. My son is involved in a Young Marines program, and this might be an opportunity for our group to do some community service alone with making Mark a very happy man with some visitors. Again, just a thought/ idea. Please email me and we can discuss this further. Thank you. my email is angela100182@yahoo.com. :)

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    1. I sent you an e-mail. Thanks so much!! :)

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  31. I will be sending a card. Especially during the holidays I try and look for little ways to be a blessing to someone's life. Thank you for telling us about this, so we can show this man some friendship. I will pray for him as well, and for you. I know this is not easy.

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  32. I am so sorry to hear about your friend and what an amazing story and wonderful thing you are doing for him. I just purchased a card on Hallmark.com and it is on its way!

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  33. I have never commented on your blog, but I have been reading it for a while! I just dropped my card for Mark in the mailbox. :)

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  34. Sending out a card today! This is a great reminder at Christmas we all have so much to be thankful for and should be looking for ways to encourage and bless others. Great idea to rent the PO box!!

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  35. I work at a small school and shared this with some co-workers. They will be having their students make cards and I will send them out :-)

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  36. I've been lurking for years, and think I may have commented once or twice before, but I had to comment on this one. This post brought tears to my eyes for two reasons - because I'm so sad for Mark, and because I'm so happy that people like you exist in this world. You are a beautiful person, and I'm so happy I stumbled on your blog a few years ago!

    -Racheal

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  37. Katie! I'm going to have my girls make him pictures and I'll send a card! <3

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  38. Picked up a card this afternoon, just filled it out and it will go out tomorrow. I hope it makes his day a little brighter. You are awesome, Katie, for thinking of your friend this way.

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  39. God Bless your heart you are a wonderful kind hearted women. Will definitely be sending a card.

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  40. My card is in the mail, glad to do something to brighten his day!

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  41. Have followed your blog for some time, but have not commented before. I think you are very inspiring in all that you do, and this is a wonderful thing to do for Mark. I am sure it will lift his spirits! I will send a card too, so look out for one from Wisconsin! What an amazing person you are, Katie! ~Raelene

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  42. Sending him one of our Christmas cards with a little note on the back. Sometimes I really think the worst things DO happen to the BEST people. Hope he receives lots of cards and notes!

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  43. We have lived and traveled all over the world and I have postcards from all over...I have always been a big fan of sending snail mail so I will get some in the mail to him right away. They will be from all over the place so maybe he can feel like he has "seen" some new places too! -Mishka

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  44. I just discovered your blog and this request on Reddit. I've been writing letters for months for More Love Letters and will be more than happy to send one to Mark as well. Out of curiosity, how many have you received?

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    1. Thanks so much! I'm not sure of the exact number that he's received, but I would guess about 500-600? Way more than I ever imagined. He's loved getting them!

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I'd love to hear from you! I read all of my comments, and if you have a question, I do my best to respond; sometimes, however, I get busy and forget to go back to reply, so if it's important, just email me! :)