Honoring Houston’s Heroes {Carrie’s Story}

“Motherhood is a lifelong promise to protect and fight for your child. For some mothers, the greatest fight isn’t their own; it’s helping their child battle cancer.” – Northwestern Mutual

With Mother’s Day just two days away, my mind has been racing.  Of course, I’ve been thinking about my sweet children who have made me a mother and made each consecutive day brighter.  However, I’ve also been thinking a lot about the mothers who are in the throes of some challenging days, challenging months, or even challenging years.  My mind keeps drifting to the moms who are walking hand in hand with their children as they bravely fight childhood cancer.  Their children also made them a mother, and their days have, no doubt, become a million times brighter because of them too.  But even more so, these sweet mamas have learned tremendous life lessons and have come to cherish each and every day because of their children.  So when our friends at  Northwestern Mutual asked us if we wanted to partner together to celebrate these heroic Houston moms this Mother’s Day, I didn’t even blink before saying – “YES!”

Last week we put a spotlight on Melissa, an anchor and health reporter for FOX 26 whose precious little boy was diagnosed with leukemia three years ago.  And this week, I feel like I’m being reunited with a dear friend…  Carrie.

Honoring Houston's Heroes - Carrie 1

If you’ve been following Houston Moms Blog for awhile, then you have probably read a bit of Carrie’s story before.  {And if you haven’t, you must read her beautifully raw guest post here.}  Her charismatic daughter Peyton has been dancing since she was a toddler, but at just 12 years old, their worlds were turned upside down when Peyton became very weak and was soon diagnosed with leukemia.

For most of us, this would stop us in our tracks.  But Peyton has fought the battle, continued dancing, and was even chosen by Northwestern Mutual to have her adventure come to life in the recent Tournament of Roses Parade.  We were thrilled to follow along with her journey from preparation to presentations to the highlight of it all – the parade.  And all throughout, I have been in awe of not just Peyton, but also her dear mom Carrie who has so boldly surrendered so much of herself to ensure the absolute best care for her family.  Sitting down to a phone chat with the family the other day was like a breath of fresh air and reinvigorated my outlook on motherhood, family, and life itself.

During our talk, Carrie shared a little bit about life before the diagnosis versus after the diagnosis.  She shared how something like this can rock you to your core and can change so much about how you view day-to-day life.  And then she shared how she now cherishes each day and appreciates every.little.thing. in the journey of motherhood.  A reminder that we as moms sometimes desperately need, and what a powerful source to hear those words from.

Then, we spoke of marriage.  Did you know that the divorce rate is almost 90% for parents of children with cancer?  That statistic blew me away.  But then Carrie told me how her and her husband Roger used that information as a jumping off point.  They vowed to work together throughout the journey and never lose sight of their common goal and understanding of each other.  They promised to help one another and support the family no matter what it takes.  Despite family separations while Peyton is receiving inpatient treatment or juggling their son Major’s extracurriculars with everything else they have going on — this family is a team.  And the love they have for each other is undeniable.

In fact, I asked Roger what he wanted to tell his wife this Mother’s Day, and I could hear the break in his voice as he fought back tears.  Then, he said to her…

Thank you for giving me the two best presents I’ve ever had in my life – Peyton and Major.  Thank you for taking such good care of them.  The reason they are such amazing children is because of you.

Oh, y’all.  This is the side of childhood cancer that so many of us will never see.

Childhood cancer is painful – physically, emotionally, mentally – and not just for the children, but for the entire village who surrounds them {mom, dad, siblings, grandparents, neighbors, friends…}.  No one should have to go through this.  But Peyton is doing it with grace and with dignity.  She makes those who know her and love her strive to be a better person.  But if you ask her who her best friend is and how she gets through it all, she will tell you it’s because of her mom.  Carrie.   A true Houston hero.  And what a privilege it is to celebrate her this Mother’s Day.

Honoring Houston's Heroes - Carrie 2

This Mother’s Day we encourage you to lift each other up, celebrate one another, and honor the heroes all around you.  And from all of us to all of you… Happy Mother’s Day to you too!

Be sure to visit Northwestern Mutual on Facebook to read more stories of the heroic moms of childhood cancer patients and learn about their efforts to impact the fight against childhood cancer.  We are in awe of all that they are doing, and we know you will be too!

Learn more at NorthwesternMutual.Com

Please Note :: We are so thankful to Northwestern Mutual for sponsoring this series and allowing us the opportunity to highlight three very special local moms.  We are honored to come alongside their efforts to raise awareness for childhood cancer, and all thoughts and opinions included are proudly our own.

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Kelly D
Kelly is the founder of Houston Moms Blog and has lived in this beautiful city nearly all of her life. She has a degree in education from Texas State University and was honored to teach special education for eight years to some of the cutest little kiddos you could ever meet. While teaching, Kelly met Cody – a tall drink of water and country boy to the core – and together, they fell in love, got married, and decided to start a family. In March 2011, they welcomed Hayes into the world, a silly but smart little boy with a story you have to read to believe. And in April 2013, their family was complete with the addition of Hadley, a super gregarious and oh-so-cute baby girl. Now, Kelly devotes her days to caring for her own little ones…and would not trade this new job of hers for the world! In her not-so-spare time, Kelly loves meeting up with her girlfriends for margaritas, failing miserably at Pinterest projects, and exploring this big old city with her two favorite little side-kicks in tow.


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