Be where your feet are!
Dad battles cancer with messages of life’s clarity
On Thanksgiving, Parker couldn’t eat. The turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes sat on his plate as he sat in excruciating pain. The next morning, he would go to the hospital and soon learn he had aggressive Burkitt Lymphoma. “They didn’t even stage his cancer," said his wife Karlei. “This was stage panic."
Upon entering the hospital, the treatments started immediately. Parker and his wife and two small children have been thrust into a world of constant treatments, learning a new balance, and isolation because of COVID and chemo. But in the midst of uncertainty – came community.
“We thought having two premature babies was hard, then cancer hit." Karlei Ayers “We felt uncomfortable asking for support, but Give InKind was the answer. “My phone was constantly ringing or dinging with people wanting to see how Parker was doing, how we all were. The Give InKind platform gave us an easy way to provide updates and find ways for people to help us, without bombarding our email or text messages."
When friend Tina suggested the Ayers family start their page for support for Parker, the family was hesitant. “We always thought in our heads, there are worse people off than we are right now. But we soon realized how overwhelming cancer can be on all of us, and are so incredibly grateful to our family and friends who have been beside us – near and far."
The family set up a meal delivery schedule, even having UberEats able to deliver to Parker in the hospital during his treatments. The family connected PayPal to their page for the financial burden and extra care Parker needs as well as a wish list for food delivery and other things.
Parker’s perspective however, written by him most often on his Give InKind updates, is something very piercing – honest and insightful. In a recent post following his chemo hospital stay over the new year he writes:
Over the years I’ve learned some memories stick and others seem to fade into the fluff. The more experiences I have the more I realize that I remember more of the tough times in life, not the easy stuff. Maybe a picnic that gets rained out where everyone has to hustle the ham biscuits, deviled eggs, blanket, and shortcake to get under the tree at the park. Maybe it’s the time you went on the backpacking trip and you were nearly pushed to tears because you’re not sure if you’re going to make it across a sketchy snow field with your bleeding blisters and insufficient equipment. I can tell you for sure I don’t remember the sunny days where everything goes as planned and runs smoothly and not even the kids complain. I remember those tough times and have grown to love and value them… Point being, celebrate the grind and the toughness. It makes us who we are in the end. Keep grinding and I’ll do the same!
“The family and I are so overwhelmed by all the support," said Parker. “We appreciate EVERYTHING and EVERYONE that has supported us in so many different ways."
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