John: Spreading Awareness

September was Childhood Cancer Awareness month and our friend Caitlin Nickel had a fundraiser through her business to promote awareness. Through the generosity of  Caitlin, our families, and my friends and colleagues from the Hastings schools, Caitlin was able to order and fill thirty-one brand cinch sacs for every room on the oncology floor of Children’s Minneapolis! The bags were filled with activities, toys and crafts. They were a huge hit here at the Gegen home as all three boys thought they were pretty cool!

A very proud John Gegen pulled a wagon full of these cinch sacs through the hospital to the Welcome Desk where he dropped them off. While John wanted so badly to take them right up to the 7th floor, he understood the visitor restrictions and that they are in place to keep the patients safe. A little problem occurred when he realized that he had to surrender the cinch sac he was wearing. After a brief explanation that if we didn’t give that one too, one room would be without a bag, he handed it over without a fuss. I have to admit….having John take that off of his back tugged at my heart like crazy! (It’s a good thing I put in an order to Santa for an identical bag!)

Thank you, thank you to everyone that helped Caitlin make this wonderful gift possible for those kiddos fighting on the 7th floor!

Today on Face Book I saw John’s face on 2 different posts. One was for Children’s Hospital and Clinics and the other for a wonderful organization called Because of Ezra. We are forever grateful to both…for what they have done for John and how they’ve touched our lives. You can click on the links below to take a look.


If you have clicked on the previous links from Because of Ezra you will have seen some of this footage, but there is also new footage. 🙂 This is John’s story…our family’s contribution to help raise awareness.

When I watched John’s video today…the tears streamed down my face. Hmmm….was it that pretty music, the images of my healthy John, or the snaggle-tooth in that 7 year old mouth? No it’s the desperation in a mother’s voice and on her face (around the 3:23 mark). The constant worry is like a dark cloud that is forever looming. I thought the worry would lighten some…but it obviously hasn’t. I’m a work in progress. 🙂


We’ve been busy here at home. Jeffrey and John are playing hockey while Michael decided to hang up his skates this year. Mom and dad had to get over that as Michael is pursuing his new interest of snowboarding. (There’s only been one ambulance ride from the slopes to Hastings and since then we’ve established guide lines for injuries that would warrant a ride in the back of an ambulance. I told Michael he should have stuck with hockey…)

We had a very nice Thanksgiving in Rochester at my parent’s house. I always enjoy seeing my brothers and their families as we don’t see one another often. Michael and Jeffrey found my great nephew  Lincoln entertaining and I hope they didn’t teach him any new “tricks” or words while they were in the basement playing Play Station! I know at one point they were telling him my name was Shelster..they are always so helpful.

Little John Gegen is full of the Christmas spirit. His love of the holidays even had his dad stringing lights up on the house! John’s elf on the shelf has been very busy causing mischief  in our home. Last night it toilet papered all 3 of the boys’s rooms while they were sleeping and the night before a bunch of wrestling guys got strung up on the Christmas tree. I love the twinkle in John’s eyes and his pure innocence when it comes to a few holiday traditions. 🙂

I hope you all had a blessed Thanksgiving with your loved ones. We are always and forever grateful for each and every one of you!

Love, Hope and Blessings,


One thought on “John: Spreading Awareness

  1. amazing how the” ordinary”becomes “extra ordinary” when you have lived thru a life changing traumahave a good time with each other.

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