Why We Walked

It’s been almost seven years since our dear friends, Tony and Amber Bender, released their baby girl into the arms of Jesus.
Addi was a sweet, bubbly little girl, not even two years old, when she was diagnosed with brain cancer. Even typing it brings a bitter taste to my mouth. We were all, all of us who love Tony and Amber and their children, devastated. Surgery after surgery and radiation all were tough battles that Addi fought. She gave everything she had and she did it with the sweetest smile.
Next to the day of my mom’s suicide, the day Addi succumbed to cancer has been the hardest day of my life. There were a handful of us lingering in the room, praying God might take her pain away. We whispered prayers as the tears fell as we waited on the angels to lift her spirit to heaven.
It was enough to do any parent in. And I can not think of a single person on the face of this earth that would’ve blamed Tony and Amber for curling up into a ball and retreating from life all together. The Bender’s weren’t done fighting though.
Cancer took their baby girl and they waged war on cancer. They took their two little boys for a vacation (if you call traveling to heal a vacation) and came back  home swinging hard. They immediately formed Addi’s Faith Foundation in order to fund pediatric brain cancer research and to support other families that are facing this horrific battle. They promoted, they researched, they dug their heals in. Cancer would not win.
Yesterday was the 6th Annual Walk by Faith 5k/10k and they raised close to $200,000 to further their cause. We walked (Seth ran) because we, too, want to fight. I led the sunrise service with my friend and coworker, Reese Foster, because above all, we want to remember that God brought them through this…every step of the way.  We want to remember that God is bigger than cancer. We want to keep in mind that God is the author of life and that death is not what he wanted when he created life.
The community came out in full force because they love Tony and Amber, and their kids, Trent, Riley, and Olivia. The community came because no one wants to see cancer win – especially through the lives of babies.
Please click on the links above and pray about how God might be calling you to join in the battle.

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