I'm sure you already know those things that I want for Christmas - an iPhone 4S, a heart rate monitor for my workouts, stuff for the house, a pair of Christian Louboutins, but I've been remiss in sending you the wish list of what I really need.
So here it is.
Santa, I need you to find a cure for cancer. It's more than just a terrible disease; it's a malevolent fiend who purports to be altruistic and without bias, never discriminating. What a bastard. Cancer took my dad from me, and there isn't a day that goes by that I don't wish desperately that he had lived to see his granddaughter. There are days that the pain and grief and anger I feel because my daughter will never get to meet her grandfather is so raw I can hardly breathe.
Then I look at that little girl, who is my entire world. I would move Heaven and Earth for her.
And I can't help but remember that there are some moms who can't look at their daughters and sons without a constant worry, fear, and pain that an uninvited guest will be more powerful than their children.
Moms like my friend Alicia, whose daughter Lily is, thankfully, in remission after battling alveolar rhabdomysarcoma for nearly a year.
And then I remember those moms who can only look at pictures of their children because cancer crept in, unseen and unwanted, and stole those beautiful lives away.
Moms like Heather Solomon, who said goodbye to her 7-year-old daughter London, her baby girl, after London's 7-month battle with acute myeloid leukemia.
Moms like Heather Rebeor, whose 16-year-old song Dylan lost his fight with colon cancer hours before his football team won the state championship.
Santa, it isn't right.
Moms should draw countless pumpkin patches with their children. They should pretend to eat pizza fresh from their children's play kitchen (and imagination). They should help their children learn how to brush all their teeth, not just the front ones. They should roll their eyes at the umpteenth viewing of Dora the Explorer. They should snuggle with and read a story to their children before kissing them goodnight, every night.
Moms like Gretchen Holt-Witt should never have to bake 96,000 cookies to help raise money for their child's cancer treatment instead of doing all those other things that I take for granted.
Oh, but Santa, I'm so grateful that Gretchen did. And I'm grateful that people have taken up her battle cry to fund the fight against childhood cancer, to stop it in its tracks and force it to beat a hasty retreat like so many other cowardly menaces who threaten those we love.
And, Santa, I am also grateful that I have been given the wonderful opportunity to make friends like Kirsten at Comfortably Domestic, Jeanne at Inside NanaBread's Head, Megan at Wanna Be a Country Cleaver, Kat at Tenaciously Yours, and Mads at La Petite Pancake - these ladies who have a similar desire to do good and so have come together for a second time in as many months for Be a Good Cookie Week, just so we can help lay the groundwork for you. Kirsten, who stands at the front lines of this battle in memory of her sister, and Jeanne are both offering giveaways during this week to help spread the message that pediatric cancer isn't something to be feared; it's something to be quashed. Make sure you, the missus, and all the elves take a few minutes out of your busy schedules to enter - and help fuel the fire against pediatric cancer.
So, Santa, I've left these cookies out for you, on my grandmother's china - my grandmother whom ovarian cancer took before I was born - along with this message, in the hope that you can help deliver this gift that is so needed this year - and each year until cancer, that elusive phantom who robs people of their joy and light, throws up his hands in ultimate surrender. I know it's a tall order, but my dear friends and I are ready to help you meet it, head on.
In case you were curious, the recipe for these cranberry-walnut-white-&-dark-chocolate cookies is from the Best Bake Sale Cookbook, a cookbook that raises money for Gretchen's organization, Cookies for Kids' Cancer. The book would make a great Christmas gift for the person who loves baking. It's chock-full of fantastic recipes and wonderful stories of how people are making a difference in the fight against pediatric cancer.
I hope you like the cookies, Santa, and I hope you can at least put a few elves to work to help deliver this Christmas wish.