Blog post from Carrie Hudson, Director of Family Relations on the Leadership Team
Three Little Letters
Thanks, Leukemia, for turning my life upside down because if it were right side up, I wouldn’t have found my three favorite letters.
To me, FTK means opportunity. It means love, dedication, and hard work. It means LIFE! My journey to FTK may be a little bit of a unique one. At the age of 9, on September 24, 2004, I was admitted into the Hematology Oncology Clinic of Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri. Two days later, I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. I then underwent 26 months of oral chemotherapy, intravenous chemotherapy, spinal taps, bone marrow aspirations, and hair loss, in addition to changes in appetite, physical appearance, energy levels, and more. But then at the end of those 26 months, I was able to say, “I kicked cancer’s butt! I am cancer free!”
Throughout those 26 months and in the years to follow, I became involved with wonderful organizations such as Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, Just Like You Films Inc., and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. In high school, I began volunteering at my hospital as a Child Life Volunteer. My volunteer experience at the hospital and with the three phenomenal organizations helped me to find my passion. I am now at Oklahoma State University, studying to become a Certified Child Life Specialist. Child Life Specialists are the child development experts in a hospital. They believe that, even when children are in the hospital, play should remain an important and normal part of their lives. Just because a child has an IV pole accompanying them to the playroom, doesn’t mean they should be treated any differently than their friends. As a freshman at Oklahoma State in 2013, I stumbled upon this thing called “Dance Marathon.” “For the Kids” was their tag line, and I was intrigued.
Child Life is what FTK means to me. Because of those three impactful letters, CowboyThon is able to raise approximately $278,000 over the last four years, with goals to raise $180,000 in during the 2015-2016 school year. Because of those three letters we love to chant, CowboyThon has been able to help the Children’s Hospital Foundation and the Children’s Miracle Network fund numerous research projects to help children right here in the state of Oklahoma. Because of those three little letters we frequently hash tag, we are able to make miracles.
FTK strives to make sure our Miracle Children know they are loved. We want them to know that when they are a part of the CowboyThon family, the IV connections don’t matter, the beeping of the monitors fades away, and he or she is given the opportunity to be a Cowboy.
We are so thankful for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals because they brought us Carrie. Without her, we wouldn't have such a wonderful Family Relations Director and friend. We are all #FTKtheCarrieWay