We got three feet inside the door and stopped, now the last in a very long line. The four year old with us wants to know why we stopped. We have to wait our turn, we tell her, like at a restaurant. It’s hard to hold back my tears as I think of why all these people are here. Minutes later we reach the welcome table and hand over our donation. I scribble a quick note in the well-wishes book. I hope to see the little girl, but the note says doctors advised against her being here tonight.
Inside, the room is full of family and friends. I see a woman I know who has gotten her hair back after her treatments – a woman I know who is losing hers because of her treatments – and people who just want to help. A walk to the back of the hall unknowingly leads me in the direction of the little girls mother. She talks with those who have come here tonight. My arms want to hug her, give her encouragement regarding this whole ordeal, but I know my tears will come and I will look like a fool. I know what’s ahead for her child, her entire family. I pray the ending results are not the same. I walk past her. I can’t speak to her right now.
People purchase tickets and write their names on them, hoping to be a winner. The D.J. asks people who have eaten to please give up their seats so others can eat. The child’s grandfather takes the mike and speaks to the crowd. He thanks everyone for coming, and praises the support of our small town and surrounding communities. As he speaks of his grandchild, his voice quivers, he wipes his eyes. I wipe my eyes. The crowd claps politely when he finishes.
Jordyn and her family are here. They’re here to support this family. Eleven years ago this same community supported them.
People eat, talk, and show their support. When we leave, the room is still full, and people are still lined up just inside the door.