Saturday, March 24, 2012

Dear Friends and Family,
As we head off to Sanibel Island this weekend, I cannot help but remember that it was ten years ago this weekend, on March 25, 2002, that we discovered a lump on our daughter Lilly's abdomen.

After six grueling hours in the ER at Ft. Myers, we learned our 3-year-old baby girl had kidney cancer. We raced home to Chicago where she had her kidney and the tumor removed and received six months of chemo and radiation at Chicago Children's Memorial Hospital.

To express our gratitude to the hospital and our happiness that Lilly is ten years cancer-free, we would like to have a mini-fundraiser here online to benefit the Patient Emergency Fund at Children's Memorial.
During that grueling time, we were SO grateful to have a place like Children's Memorial that we could drive to easily for world-class care. Just a half hour away we were able to drive down for the day on treatment days and be in our own beds at night. And we were fortunate that our insurance paid for it all.

I cannot imagine going through what we did AND having to worry about getting to the hospital, where to stay, what to do with the other kids, and how to pay for it all. But that is just what many families face and I saw many of them. As if the pediatric oncology ward isn't sad enough, I would watch families numbly talking to the social worker about how they might get help paying for diapers or a place to stay.

One family in particular broke my heart. They had come from out of the country --having already lost one child to cancer they hoped to save another--leaving two more children at home in the care of a grandmother. I remember watching the social worker discretely hand them Target Gift cards so they could afford some basics.

I have since learned that the Target cards and similar gifts come from a fund called the Patient Emergency Fund that is financed solely by donations. It is to this account I hope you will consider giving in honor of Lilly.

Today Lilly is a completely healthy, lovely, sassy 13-year-old thanks to her successful treatment at Children's Memorial Hospital.

If Lilly has ever made you smile, then please click on this link and make a donation. Even a small amount would be appreciated.

If you prefer to mail a check you can send one to the address below. Just include Lilly's name on the memo line so they know :

Children’s Memorial Hospital
Attn: Katie Green
2300 Children’s Plaza
Box 4
Chicago, IL 60614

For all you have done. For all you do. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Judy and Jeff

Thursday, March 01, 2012


I never really thought of Atticus as artistic. He is not the kid who worked feverishly on art projects or brought home stuff from art class --that would be Grace.

But he started taking photography classes as a Freshman and never really stopped. Still, I didn't think of it as an artistic pursuit but more of an interest of his because he is, after all, a serial interest taker.

Last spring I finally noticed he was doing more with his photography. One day he asked to use a speaker from the computer and he stretched a black balloon over it, poured paint on it, then turned on music. When the paint jumped up he took pictures (see left).

And on vacation in Maine while the other kids ran around the grounds he covered his bedroom windows in black garbage bags and created a room-sized camera (see left above).

Still I just thought it was just a hobby of his so I was surprised when he declared he wanted to study photography in college. And surprised when the Art Institute sent someone out to the high school to help the kids with their portfolios that the woman told him his stuff was fabulous and he should apply to their school. And shocked when he not only got accepted but was offered an amazing scholarship based on his portfolio.

So that's a quick version of how he got to the SAIC. As promised in my previous post, here's some more info on the school that is kind of cool and we have learned since he was accepted.

-The school came before the museum. In the 1860s some artists started a school of art. Their personal collections of art became the start of the museum

-The Chicago Art Institute is the third largest art museum in the world: after the Louvre and the Met

-As a student you have access to all the art in the museum. Only about 25% of the collection is out at any time. You can go into the archives and say "I'd like to look at Picasso's diaries" and they'll hand you white gloves and let you have at it.

-There are dorms. They are high-rise loft apartments in the Theatre District. Every student has a drafting table in their room. The entire 17th floor is an art studio open 24/7. When Atticus heard about the drafting tables he was sold.

So next time you are in Chicago, don't forget to visit our museum and keep your eyes peeled. That artsy kid prowling the galleries just might be mine.