“A man never stands as tall as when he kneels to help a child.”
When our first daughter, Hayley, was born in 2003, Alan’s heart was instantly stolen. While some dads have a hard time bonding with their newborns, Alan’s connection with her was immediate (perhaps in no small part, because she looked an exact miniature replica of him!) I vividly recall how he forgot our address filling out paperwork because he was so excited and smitten with our brand-new daughter! Over the coming months, no one could elicit smiles, giggles and hand claps from Hayley better than her Daddy, and the best part of both of their days was when he would come home to play, bathe her and put her to bed.
Shortly after Hayley’s first birthday, our world was rocked to the core when Hayley was diagnosed with an aggressive form of AML leukemia. Life had changed as we knew it, but Hayley and Alan’s relationship only grew stronger. Alan’s face appearing in the hospital door after work still elicited those beloved giggles, and he continually found new ways to make “hospital life” fun for our then toddler. Somehow he managed to balance his own heartache, while still providing for our family and spending every possible second in the hospital. He shared the physical burden equally, alternating nights in the hospital and waking early on his “off” days to race to the hospital to give me time for a much–appreciated shower. As time wore on and Hayley’s relapses began, I marveled at his ability to smile and offer kind words of encouragement to others – even when our own hearts were breaking.
When we eventually lost our precious girl in December 2004, he faced a grief that no father should. But he resolved to make a difference. He began working with CURE, determined that no other parent should face the same heartache – that one day every child with cancer would be guaranteed a cure. Today, he continues to serve on CURE’s board, driven by that same purpose, while being the most amazing father to our two other children. As Father’s Day approaches, I hope he knows that I couldn’t have hand-picked a better father for our three children. And I hope he knows that his amazing efforts are still greeted with big “cheeky” grins from our first-born daughter who watches from heaven and who is surely so very proud of him.
By : Dayna Thomson