Amy, a young mother, had battled leukemia for over a year. She kept a blog of her journey through cancer which detailed her faith in God and inspired all who read it. Her faith never wavered, instead holding fast and growing stronger while those of us who read daily were inspired while keeping a silent vigil, offering our prayers and leaving notes of encouragement for her. My hope is that she was as blessed by the prayers and words of strangers as we were to be a part of her journey. She died on September 10 while waiting for a second bone marrow transplant, leaving behind her husband and young son. Her story doesn't end there, however, as her husband plans to make her writings available in a book so that her story can reach others who didn't have the chance to know her while she was alive. Her legacy will live on through her words.
Gloria, an 11 year old girl, had battled neuroblastoma for four years before succumbing to her illness on Friday, September 21, 2007. Gloria inspired all who knew her, whether personally or those like myself who read her story as written by Jerry Brewer for the Seattle Times. His words transport the reader and his touching tribute shows how Gloria has found her way into his heart and those of his readers. As I read her story, looked at the pictures and watched a video of the prayer vigil conducted in the ICU, I was amazed at her tenacity for life and the love of her family as they hoped for a miracle of healing for her. I was moved by her prayers for others even in the midst of her own suffering. After Amy's death, I prayed all the more diligently for Gloria, especially praying for the miracle that would be needed to keep her alive. I wondered if she knew just how many people from all over the world were also praying for her and thinking of her. She never gave up hope and through it all, she gave hope to those who are now left behind in a world without her. Her parents believe that this is only the beginning of Gloria's story. Her legacy will live on through her family and the many people who were touched by her and will never be the same.
It is odd how the internet can bring such people into our lives. People who we will never meet but whose lives touch ours in a way that is so personal and lasting. We are interconnected in so many ways: through modern technology, prayers, a belief in a God who loves us. Both Amy and Gloria are bright shining lights, now twinkling from Heaven to show us the way as we traverse our journeys through our own trials in this valley of tears.
Thank you God, for Amy and Gloria. Their lives are a beautiful testament of Your love.