Asking For Your Prayers

Hey this is James, Joel’s brother, just asking you to pray. 

Cora is beginning her first round of chemotherapy right now, and we just wanted to remind you to pray especially hard at this time because the first dose of this treatment is really critical, with a lot of risks involved. Her treatments will last for the next 78 hours, so please remember to pray for her especially in these next few days. 
This is a really difficult time for us all, but it means so much to know that you are lifting us up before our Heavenly Father all over the world. Please continue to ask Him for a miracle.
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  • January 28, 2009 - 6:50 pm

    Jenna - Praying for your family as you go through these trying times. I will be in prayer for your Cora.

    Praying in FL
    JennaReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 6:51 pm

    Jenni - Was praying for Cora in my sleep last night.ReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 6:54 pm

    Courtney and the Boys - God bless you in this journey with Cora…you all will be in my prayers…

    Courtney in IndianaReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 7:05 pm

    Holly Green - Having 2 sweet little girls myself, it breaks my heart to hear about your little girl. I will continue to pray for strength for your family and especially for Cora. We do know that God is in control of all things and that this is not too big for Him.ReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 7:11 pm

    Soni Henry - Praying for your beautiful little baby. Praying for healing, peace, and comfort for all of your family.ReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 7:13 pm
  • January 28, 2009 - 7:15 pm

    Fran - Cora and you guys are in my thoughts and prayers. We serve a mighty God, may He comfort you and strengthen you during this time.ReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 7:46 pm

    Anonymous - Just came across your blog..wanted to let you know that prayers for Cora are being said in Cape Girardeau, MO.ReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 7:52 pm

    KK - You are in my thoughts and prayers. Praying for healing for Cora and peace of mind for her family.
    Blessings today and every day,
    Kaye
    Matthew 21:22ReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 7:52 pm

    Danielle - I will pray for your sweet cora. I can’t seem to find your email. Is there any way you can email me at blogsbydanielle@gmail.com from your email address?

    Thanks!

    DanielleReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 7:57 pm

    C.C. and Double T - I am praying for you and encouraging those who read my blog to do the same.ReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 8:12 pm

    Andrea - Joel, Jess, and Baby Cora, We have being praying for you everyday. We love you, Timothy and Andrea GreeneReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 8:13 pm

    Marcy - Praying for your family and your sweet little girl!ReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 8:14 pm

    burgmom - Praying for you and your family tonight.ReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 8:14 pm

    Kay - I’m so sorry you’re having to go through this. I know you’re on overload right now, but if you get to a point that you want more info, there is plenty to be had at

    http://www.dungan.blogspot.com

    ~kayReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 8:16 pm

    PamperingBeki - Praying day and night for Cora and the entire family.ReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 8:17 pm

    Courtney Kay - Praying for sweet little Cora!ReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 8:18 pm

    Stephanie & Andy Holzwarth - We are praying for you, Cora, Joel & Jess!ReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 8:20 pm

    Sheryl - found you through another blog. cannot imagine. asking God to bring your family to my mind so that i will prayReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 8:21 pm

    lgraves - praying.ReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 8:44 pm

    Anonymous - Found you through Bring the Rain. I am heartbroken for you and your sweet baby, Cora. As a mother, I cannot imagine what you must be going through…

    God is so great, and He will use this situation to the good of His glory.

    I am praying for you all!

    Blessings,

    Beth,
    MIReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 8:47 pm

    -stephanie- - praying for a complete healing for Cora. What a doll she is.ReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 8:52 pm

    Rachel - Praying for you and your sweet baby girl. I will continue to pray and pray until she is healed. She is a beautiful little girl and she is so lucky to have parents who love her so much!! Many blessings to you!

    Rachel in OhioReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 8:53 pm

    Anonymous - We will pray continually.

    Love, Brian, Shana, Jace & KaeteReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 9:04 pm

    tahnie - hi there,

    i am a stranger and just found you from angie smith’s twitter. i’m not sure if you have already met with a child life specialist but please PLEASE request one if you haven’t already. i am training to become one myself and they can be a great help to your daughter Cora as well as helping to ease YOUR stress and emotions with such a diagnosis like this.ReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 9:06 pm

    Anonymous - I am praying for your precious baby and your family! May God give you the peace that passeth all understanding and I know he will. There are alot of people at Schowalter Villa praying for you all.ReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 9:09 pm

    tahnie - PS;

    If you would like to know more about Child Life Specialists feel free to email me at tahnie@gmail.com

    What children’s hospital are you at?ReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 9:10 pm

    Myra - I am praying for your sweet baby girl. I am a neuroblastoma SURVIVOR… so keep your faith and she WILL be healed!

    Many Blessings!!ReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 9:11 pm

    The Paynes - Praying for a miracle.
    - Danaly Payne (Lumberton, TX)ReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 9:18 pm

    Anonymous - I am lifting you and your precious Cora up in prayer. My heart aches for you and your sweet little girl. Praise the Lord that you know Him! He is the only One who can carry you through. Your faith is so inspiring.ReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 9:24 pm

    The Bohrer's - We won’t stop praying.

    Brice & HeidiReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 9:28 pm

    Anonymous - Praying for your WHOLE family at this very difficult time.ReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 9:28 pm

    dmelen - We will pray for your family and for Cora. What a sweet, angel little girl. God Bless,
    DawnReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 9:40 pm

    Nancy B - Wanted to let you know that I’m praying for your sweet baby girl and just know that God is in control.ReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 9:41 pm

    Gail - Cora and all of your family are in our prayers tonight.

    Darrel and Gail VothReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 9:45 pm

    Aaron and Shannon - Joel and Jess— we are so glad we got to see you tonight. We are and will be praying for you all.ReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 9:46 pm

    carlee Brian - Praying for your family and your precious little one, Cora..May the Lord be your comforter, healer, encourager, and strength through this journey..TRUST HIM!ReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 9:46 pm

    Anonymous - PRAYING so hard. And believing that JESUS answers prayers.ReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 9:51 pm

    Anonymous - Hi,

    I read your story by request from a friend – know that people in Minnesota and North Dakota are praying for you, your husband and most importantly, your baby girl. The power of prayer is unimaginable. Keep your head up and know that many loved ones, friends, and family’s thoughts are with you and your family during this tough challenge.ReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 9:57 pm

    Jill (Sneaky Momma) - I’m praying for you and your family, especially for sweet little Cora.ReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 9:59 pm

    Anonymous - I am praying, lifting your family up and thinking about you always. I am passing this on to churches and friends, and relatives to tell others to pray too. Miracles do happen!ReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 10:06 pm

    Chelsea - I read Loren and Anne’s blog-We’re praying for your family. You’re so blessed to have such a sweet little girl, I know God will take care of her.

    Mike and ChelseaReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 10:13 pm

    Cristy - I BELIEVE that Cora will be healed!Praying for complete healing…

    Keep believing in Him! Huge hugs tonight.

    “So Jesus answered and said to them ‘Have Faith in God’.
    *Mark 11:22*

    Cristy HarderReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 10:17 pm

    Jan - Praying so hard for beautiful little Cora and all her family.ReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 10:29 pm

    He And Me + 3 - My heart is breaking for you… I am praying for your sweet girl. Praying strength for your family and complete healing for Cora.ReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 10:29 pm

    Pam - I just found out about Cora from Angie Smith’s Twitter. I’ll be praying for everyone involved! Please update as you can so we will know how you all are doing and if there are specific areas we need to pray for.

    Peace be with you,
    PamReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 10:33 pm

    Tobie - We have been praying for Cora and your family day and night!ReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 10:35 pm

    Stefanie - I am Dave Balzer’s sister and I just wanted you to know we are praying for you all.
    love
    Stefanie RothReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 10:35 pm

    The Balzers - I know God is holding Cora tighter right now than EVER! He is holding you too! We are praying harder than ever! The miracle worker is on YOUR side! We love you!ReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 10:40 pm

    Rosemary - Thank you for your blog so that we will know how to pray! Your precious Cora is in my thoughts and prayers frequently….. as are you Joel and Jess. May the Lord hold you close!ReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 10:40 pm

    heather spratt - I found your blog through Angie Smith’s blog “Bring the Rain”. I am so so sorry that you have to travel this road…thankfully, as believers in Jesus Christ, we know that we do not ever travel alone. Praise God for that! I am a cancer survivor myself and I know first hand what it is like to be on the receiving end of prayer…it is so humbling and powerful…Our God is an awesome God, the great physician, the author of everything. He is capable of healing and miracles! I will be lifting your precious Cora up to our Heavenly Father and pray for peace and healing.

    “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all of their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:17-18

    HeatherReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 10:40 pm

    Anonymous - I believe in the Father Almighty. I believe that his capabilities are more than we can comprehend. I believe that He is holding you and your family so closely. Beautiful Cora.. so innocent, be strong and fight hard. To Jes and Joel, God is holding you in the palm of his hand.ReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 10:45 pm

    Marla Taviano - Praying for little Cora!!ReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 10:48 pm

    Jamie - I was given the link to your blog from a friend. What a beautiful family the three of you are! I can’t stop thinking about your struggles. May you receive the good grace of God during this time.

    Thoughts from ND
    JamieReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 10:48 pm

    Julie - Jess, I’m crying now because of all the people who are praying for precious Cora. How amazing!! I’m believing God for the healing of Cora. Cora’s story is already touching so many and God is going to use it!ReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 10:53 pm

    Jennifer - I want you to know that Cora has been on my mind all day today. Everytime I get a moment I pray for her. I have been telling everyone I know to pray with me and lift up your daughter to our Lord. We all believe in Miracles. Our God is an AWESOME God.ReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 10:56 pm

    The Stuckys - We love you Cora, Jess & Joel and are praying continually for you!ReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 10:58 pm

    workout mommy - i am praying for your little girl and your family.

    lisaReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 11:00 pm

    Dune - Jess, Joel and Baby Cora,
    We love you and are sending our love and prayers for health and healing to all of you.
    Much Love from Lecia Beverlin Rand, Gregg and Rhiana.ReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 11:09 pm

    Josie - I found you through Bring the Rain and wanted to send you love and support. We have our own sick baby girl and we know how difficult this road can be. We will keep you in our thoughts and prayers, tonight and always.

    The Kurz Family
    Richmond, VirginiaReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 11:12 pm

    doll's spot - Thank you for letting us see you today, pray and cry. It is SO EVIDENT how the Lord is surronding you. IN such a dark, heavy place, you two shined with His light. Remember that! We love you and are praying with all we have, you are amazing parents~
    Abbe & AdamReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 11:16 pm

    Anonymous - Your girl is beautiful! I will be keeping you in my prayers. Cling tight to your Savior during this difficult time. He will get through this valley in your life.ReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 11:26 pm

    Anonymous - No one can ever imagine something like this could happen to them, and when it does God holds our hand. He carries us, only one set of footprints in the sand. Many people will ask you HOW you made it through, and it is my understanding that you will say with grace, humility, and GOD. I pray that one day you will be able to say that while holding your daughters hand when she asks “mom and dad, tell me about the time when I was sick.” PRAYING PRAYING PRAYING for you and your sweet baby!ReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 11:30 pm

    Allison - Praying for you and your family and passing your story on so others can do the same! We serve an awesome and powerful God!! (friends of the Boccia’s)ReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 11:30 pm

    tiff - We are also praying out here in Seattle for you and precious Cora. Our hearts are with you.
    Ryan & Tiff Classen (Tony’s fam)ReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 11:34 pm

    Deborah - Sent by Marla…praying for you in Ohio!ReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 11:35 pm

    Anonymous - Praying for you in Iowa. Asking other’s to do the same.
    DonnaReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 11:37 pm

    Anonymous - Let us come together as The Body of Christ and pray. Prayers are being said and prayers are being heard. I was referred here by “Bring the Rain”
    Kelly in NMReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 11:41 pm

    aimee - Since coming to your site through Angie’s (Bring the Rain), and reading about sweet Cora, I cannot stop thinking about her tonite. Each time she comes into my mind I have prayed for her and your family. My daughter is about the same age and it breaks my heart to think of how scared you must be and how worried you are for your baby. I don’t comment on blogs often, but I felt compelled to let you know I’ve been praying, and will continue to do so.ReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 11:47 pm

    Julie - Jess, Joel and Cora…
    May the Lord walk beside you to comfort you.
    May the Lord walk above you to watch over you.
    May the Lord walk behind you to keep you safe.
    May the Lord walk before you to show you the way.
    You and your families are all in our prayers.
    Brad and JulieReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 11:59 pm

    Lane - In prayer. God BlessReplyCancel

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  • January 29, 2009 - 12:05 am

    Anonymous - Truly cannot even imagine. Will be praying for Cora like crazy over the next 78 hours. Our God is a God who heals…ReplyCancel

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  • January 29, 2009 - 12:17 am

    The Reavises - We want you all to know that we are praying for Cora every time we think about her. We and others at our church are lifting your family and Cora up in prayer to our Lord Christ for strength, healing, and encouragement.
    -The Reavises and others at Memorial Lutheran Church, HoustonReplyCancel

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  • January 29, 2009 - 12:17 am

    meg duerksen - loved our visit today. it was so good for my heart to physically see you. thank you for that. that precious girl is on my mind all the time. craig had a car accident today…at the same time that i was at the hospital with you. he was okay but his car wasn’t and he said “thinking of cora got me through…it’s perspective…who cares about a car?” very touching. we are all just on our knees for you all. you are so loved.
    i gave talby her big hug from you. :) ReplyCancel

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  • January 29, 2009 - 12:27 am

    Anonymous - Incredible. Over 3,000 hits to your blog and over 70 comments in less than 6 hours. THOUSANDS of people are praying for you guys and sweet Cora. May you all feel the covering of prayer tonight and in the days that follow. You are constantly on our hearts. God is doing incredible things through your testimony and through Cora. We love you so much. Laura, Michael & HunterReplyCancel

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  • January 29, 2009 - 12:55 am

    Jaimi - I’m praying for that sweet little girl, Cora. May she find the strength and courage to get through this storm.

    Praying in Indiana
    JaimiReplyCancel

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  • January 29, 2009 - 2:07 am

    Jennifer - I just found your blog a few minutes ago and I will be spending a while reading. Praying for Baby Cora!! What a beautiful name for an even more beautiful baby!ReplyCancel

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  • January 29, 2009 - 2:07 am

    Ashleigh - I can’t even begin to imagine what you are going through. I am so sorry. I am praying for a complete healing.

    Praying in MO,
    AshleighReplyCancel

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  • January 29, 2009 - 2:31 am

    Anonymous - I am praying for complete and quick healing for sweet Cora!! May God give you all peace and strength!ReplyCancel

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  • January 29, 2009 - 1:43 pm

    Anonymous - We are praying for you. It breaks my heart to know your precious little daughter is going through this. I pray that God will give you immeasurable grace and comfort at this time. There are so many people praying for you and so many people who love you guys!

    Praying for you,

    Traci (Tilson) Hutchinson and my familyReplyCancel

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  • January 29, 2009 - 11:27 pm

    Tim Lambert - Hi from Tim and Kerrie Lambert,in Chambers, NE. Our daughter, Molly is now 5 years in remission from AML leukemia. I remember the agony of waiting for test results like it was yesterday. You have a beautiful baby and our family will pray for a full recovery for Cora. God be with you and grant you strength for the days ahead.ReplyCancel

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  • January 30, 2009 - 4:20 am

    Mansi Rana - Hi,

    My name Mansi from India.

    I am a mother & surely understand the pain you both must have been going through.

    I pray to God from Bottom of my heart to make life beautiful for Cora again.ReplyCancel

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  • January 30, 2009 - 3:36 pm

    Courtney - Our family will keep yours in our every prayer. Lean on your faith and know that God cradles her in his arms.

    Love In Christ
    Kelly and Courtney Mayfield
    Augusta, Ks.ReplyCancel

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  • February 2, 2009 - 8:29 pm

    Anonymous - I don’t know you, stumbled on your blog, but I believe that the Lord led me to read it. I am praying without ceasing for Cora and will put her on my church’s prayer chain in Michigan and ask my sister in Indiana to do the same. God will unite us all to ask for complete healing for your beautiful baby!ReplyCancel

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  • February 2, 2009 - 8:33 pm

    Anonymous - I don’t know you, stumbled on your blog, but I believe that the Lord led me to read it. I am praying without ceasing for Cora and will put her on my church’s prayer chain in Michigan and ask my sister in Indiana to do the same. God will unite us all to ask for complete healing for your beautiful baby!ReplyCancel

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  • February 3, 2009 - 8:21 pm

    My name is Megan... - I am praying for this family and baby Cora!!!!ReplyCancel

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ups and downs

We started the day feeling pretty optomistic about things and ended the day pretty discouraged. I think that is how this journey is going to be. Lots of ups and downs. We are tired, we cry a lot, and we are still in shock that our happy little Cora is lying in a hospital bed with cancer. All we can do is cry out to the Lord to heal our precious little girl.

We met with the oncologist this morning. He talked to us about Neuroblastoma and what Cora’s chemo is going to look like in the future. He doesn’t want to start chemo until next week (probably Monday) so that Cora’s body has a chance to heal from surgery. We probably will be going home sooner than we thought and then will go to his office for chemo treatments. Although the cancer is a stage 4, he is very optomistic about the treatment even if the tests show that she has the unfavorable kind of cancer. We are still praying for the favorable cancer that responds well to chemo. He also told us that Cora being under 12 months old increases her chances. It was so wonderful to hear some good news! Generally speaking it sounds like we are looking at six to eight coarses of chemo. This all depends on the test results. We will let you know when we know more.

This afternoon was much harder. Cora had such a good morning, but in the afternoon she was faced with lots of tests. Cora had x-rays of her whole body, CT scans of her chest and head, and a bone scan. It was lots of moving around for her and lots of waiting for us. Shortly following the tests the doctor verified that the cancer had moved all over her body. They already had told us that she was a stage four, but it was so hard to hear that they actually saw it in the scans and x-rays. It felt like we were facing reality all over again. We just felt sick. When we got Cora back to her room she seemed so uncomfortable. I think she was worn out from the afternoon and not feeling good at all. She was so sad and that makes her mom and dad SO sad. Cora’s tummy is still very swollen. They put her back on an IV to help with that. They don’t want her eating for now.

This picture was taken this evening after Cora finally settled down. I think she was covering her eyes to tell everyone to quit picking on her!

Cora has gotten so many sweet stuffed animals. We played with them this morning and put them all in her crib. We are so overwhelmed by the many, many gifts we have recieved. Thank you!

Even today we have continued to be surrounded by so many friends and family. Your visits and calls encourage us so much and make the days go by faster. We are so, so thankful for you all.

“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us.” Ephesians 3:20

Praises:

-Encouraging meeting with the oncologist

-The cancer was found before Cora was 12 months old

-Such loving friends and family

-The multitude of prayer warriors that are praying for Cora, WOW!

Requests:

-Strength and comfort for Cora as she continues to recover from surgery

-Patience as we wait for the results of the cancer tests (This is hard!)

-Wisdom and understanding as we learn about the chemo treatments and how to take care of Cora when we take her home
-Opportunities to share what God is doing in our lives with the many new people we are meeting

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  • January 27, 2009 - 1:21 am

    Amy - You are amazing, Jess. All that you and Joel are dealing with, yet you are thinking of others and praying that you will be able to share God with the people you come in contact with.

    My heart aches for you when I look at these pictures of your sweet Cora. Thank you for your updates and know that there are so many people… people you know, and people you don’t know… praying for you and your little girl. You are all very loved.ReplyCancel

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  • January 27, 2009 - 2:26 am

    Julie - That first picture of Cora is precious (and sad). Thank you for sharing your ups and downs with us and letting us know specifically what you are needing prayer for. I admire your strength and courage and know God is going to do something for His glory through Cora’s story. I’m so thankful for the encouragement you received from the doctor this morning; how great to hear such optimism about Cora’s treatments. I’m sorry that you have to watch your little girl go through something like this and know that there is nothing you can do to make it go away right now. I love you and Cora dearly and my heart is with you.

    I’m feeling much better and will come see you in the next few days. Oh Jess, I am just praying for you and crying with you right now!! LOVE YOU!ReplyCancel

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  • January 27, 2009 - 8:04 am

    Jennifer & Jarod Ebenhack - Hi Joel and Jessica. My mom gave us your blog page. She called us the other day as soon as she heard about Cora’s surgery, asking us to pray. We are so so sorry for all that you are going through. We have told our kids about Cora, and they are all so burdened for her too. They/we will be praying fervently for you. Our hearts are so heavy as we think about what you’re experiencing. Like you, all we can do is trust in God’s goodness, faithfulness, and His mercies which are new every morning.ReplyCancel

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  • January 27, 2009 - 8:24 am

    Aaron and Shannon - I can’t believe you are going through this Jess. I just cry every time I think of you and your family. We praying hard that the chemo will take all this nasty cancer from Cora’s body. I hope to be able to see you soon. Thanks for the updates.ReplyCancel

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  • January 27, 2009 - 8:55 am

    The Sweigart Family - Cora is so fortunate to have such amazing parents. You guys are a true testament.

    I can only imagine how hard that must have been to hear that there is so much yucky stuff inside your little girl. I will pray that you stay encouraged that the treatment will work. I’m encouraged just by your attitude and faith!

    You are loved and we are praying.ReplyCancel

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  • January 27, 2009 - 9:21 am

    Cowles in England - Dear Joel and Jess, Our hearts just ache for you. We are keeping updated thru your blog and Dad and Mom. We’re so glad for the support system you have. We are so sorry, and will keep praying. We love you so much, Steve and Debbie Cowles, Kristy, Jonathan, and Josh
    PS we have people praying for you here in England, too.ReplyCancel

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  • January 27, 2009 - 9:42 am

    Elizabeth - Jess,
    Be encouraged. God will show Himself mighty because He can do no less for your family – Might and Power are His nature.
    We are praying first for Cora’s healing and then for His safety to surround you, His peace to hold you tight.ReplyCancel

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  • January 27, 2009 - 10:13 am

    Estie - I am a friend of Julie’s, and I am joining in with the many that are praying for sweet Cora and your family! My daughter and I were just on our knees in prayer for your family. As I was praying I got emotional thinking of all that you are going through. My four-year-old daughter looked up at me and said, “Don’t worry, mama, I am here to help you not be sad.” That is exactly what I hope is raining down upon you now–knowing that God’s people are praying for you and that God will be there to help you through every step of this journey.

    Words cannot express how our hearts ache hearing all that you are going through. God is good and He is already using you to touch others with your amazing faith. Thank you for sharing a part of you through this blog.

    We will continue to lift up your family in prayer. We trust that God has big plans for little Cora and your family.

    “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11ReplyCancel

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  • January 27, 2009 - 10:21 am

    Janene Freerksen - I just wanted to leave a note to let you know I’m praying for you all and know what you’re going through. My son Joshua was diagnosed with Stage IV Neuroblastoma in March of 2003 when he was 4. He is now 10 years old and has been free of cancer for over 5 years. I went to Berean and recently visited with Paula Unruh who told us about Cora. When and if you’d like to talk, I have much to share about what we’ve learned while battling this monster. My email is janenef@cox.net and my cell phone is (785) 633-7888.
    With Hope,
    Janene (Regier) FreerksenReplyCancel

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  • January 27, 2009 - 11:31 am

    Megan - I stumbled across your blog today. Just wanted to let you know that I am adding Cora to my prayer list. God is able to do amazing miracles.ReplyCancel

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  • January 27, 2009 - 12:00 pm

    PamperingBeki - Just popping in to remind you of the things I’m sure you already know –

    God is in control.
    He is a loving God.
    Your entire family is being uplifted in prayers from people around the globe.
    I hope you feel the love and warmth people are feeling for you.ReplyCancel

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  • January 27, 2009 - 12:12 pm

    Cristy - Praying for Cora, you and Joel, the doctors, your friends and the many doctors and nurses who will care for Cora. Praying that God will hold your precious Cora in His mighty hand and heal her. I am praying for strength for you. I have a whole team of friends, in many states, praying for you that do not even know you.

    God bless you and God bless Cora. Please let me know if I can do anything at all to help you. Huge hugs from me…

    CristyReplyCancel

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  • January 27, 2009 - 1:18 pm

    The Sieberts - Here is a BIG HUG for you guys!
    We are praying hard for you!ReplyCancel

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  • January 27, 2009 - 3:05 pm

    Jim Colyer - Jess and Joel,
    We just got an email from Kim with the news of litte Cora. Please know are thoughts and prayers are with you and we are here for you. I sure do appreciate your attitude in this and know that God will use this for good, although we cannot see that right now. We love you guys very much and are hearts are breaking for you. It looks like you are surrounded with family and friends that love you guys very much and we are glad that your mom and dad are so close. We love you much and will pray without ceasing for little Cora’s health and strength for you guys.
    Jim and JudyReplyCancel

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  • January 27, 2009 - 3:56 pm

    Little Lovables - Cora and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers.

    I am so sorry for all that is happening, just remember God loves you all!ReplyCancel

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  • January 27, 2009 - 5:01 pm

    Stephanie - You do have so many praying for you! We will continue to lift you three to the throne, as well as the doctors and all others involved. Thank you for sharing your journey. You are an encouragement to me that you are clinging to tightly to the Lord in all of this. God bless you mightily and abundantly!ReplyCancel

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  • January 27, 2009 - 9:03 pm

    Lindsey - Hi Jess and Joel. My family and I will be following your journey and praying for you…all of you. I cannot imagine the pain and questions and desperate clinging to your faith right now. Thank you for sharing and your openness for us to join you on this journey. Bless you.ReplyCancel

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  • January 27, 2009 - 9:20 pm

    Courtney - saw your blog through Amy’s. i’ve been a mess ever since. praying for you. i can’t get your sweet family out of my head – so i’ll just keep praying! i’m sure there are lots of things you DON’T have answers to right now, but one thing you CAN know is that you are loved and being prayed for.ReplyCancel

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  • January 27, 2009 - 9:48 pm

    Kara - Hey Jessica, it’s Kara Janzen (used to be Jones, I was in Julie and Olivia’s bible study my freshman year at K-state, just wanted to refresh your memory.) I just wanted to let you know that Jake and I are praying for you and Cora. We serve a great God and he is here for you and for Cora every minute of every day. Thank you for the updates to know how we can pray for you and support you.

    KaraReplyCancel

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  • January 27, 2009 - 9:54 pm

    Heather - Jessica,

    Just wanted you to know that I am praying and I told my class about Cora. They are praying! This morning one of the sweet little girls in my class said “Miss Morrison, do you know how that little girl is doing?” I told my class that we just needed to keep praying for God to heal and comfort Cora.

    I have been thinking about you guys a lot! My heart is heavy for you as I read your update today. May you and Joel be able to stay strong. I know that through this struggle many people are able to see 2 people who trust a mighty mighty God!

    Much Love,

    HeatherReplyCancel

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  • January 27, 2009 - 10:41 pm

    laura - You don’t know me, but I’m a friend of a friend’s sister… anyway, I’m a mom too and I just want you to know that the Body of Christ in Florida will be lifting sweet Cora and her obviously AMAZING parents to our Big God… believing that He IS the Ultimate Healer and Restorer!!
    “May the Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the lord turn his face toward you and give you peace” Numbers 6:24-26ReplyCancel

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  • January 27, 2009 - 10:49 pm

    Judy/Mom/Gammy - Jess and Joel, My heart is heavy thinking about what you all are going through. I was just shocked when I heard the news about Cora. You are constantly in our thoughts and prayers. I know what it is like to have a sick, sick baby and it brings back so many bittersweet memories. We love you and will continue to pray for all of you. Judy WelfeltReplyCancel

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  • January 27, 2009 - 10:49 pm

    Anonymous - Joel and Jessica,

    I work for your father Jessica and I am blessed to know your parents. They are very caring and blessed individuals.

    I am so sorry to hear the news of your precious angel. She is a beautiful child and our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

    I experienced a similar situation with my daughters who were injured in a car accident. Your family was there for me through prayers and in person. I can’t begin to say how much that meant to me an my wife.

    The RichardsonsReplyCancel

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  • January 27, 2009 - 11:26 pm

    Paula Unruh - Joel and Jess,

    I had sent both your parents the following email but Jerry suggested I go ahead and post it here on your comment section. This is from Janene Regier Freerksen whom I believe, you now have her phone number if you need to call her, for someone who’s been in your shoes. Here is her note today:

    “Paula,
    Dr. David Rosen is the doctor who referred our friend Canon to NYC. When I searched for him online, I found links for him at Wesley and Via Christi.

    He is the COG (Children’s Oncology Group) contact in Wichita. COG is the nationwide childhood cancer organization that runs most of the studies and trials for different types of cancer. He will be very familiar with NYC and the other places in our country who are experts in treating Neuroblastoma.

    I dropped the family a note on their blog. I know these are the darkest of days. My Joshua prayed for Cora last night and we will continue to do so.

    God bless you as you continue to reach out to them and minister to them in this time of need. Let me know if you need any ideas! We were surrounded and that was the major way God helped us through.

    With Hope,
    Janene”

    I understand from Jerry that Dr. Rosen will be treating Cora. That is exciting!

    We love you!-Paula, for the Unruh’sReplyCancel

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  • January 27, 2009 - 11:35 pm

    Danelle - Have confidence in the power of prayer, the advanced medical technologies of today’s world, and the peace of knowing you are never alone through it all.

    I found your blog through Amanda and Dave’s blog. I will pray for your precious girl and for your whole family.ReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 2:22 am

    PiaTillys Boutique - I arrived here from pamperingbeki’s blog~ as a mother myself I can’t even begin to imagine how hard this must be for your entire family. But your sweet adorable precious little girl is in my thoughts and prayers…God is good, He’s holding her in His arms looking after her every step of the way on this journey!ReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 11:13 am

    Lori (Walter) Wilson - Jess, I have no idea what to say. My Mom sent me an email linking me to your blog. I have 2 little girls and am sitting here crying as I read about little Cora. Your strength is amazing and I pray that God will continue to give you what you need to endure through this process.

    We may not have ever been close during high school—but the 3 of you are very high in my thoughts and prayers. I’d really like to say something amazing that will just miraculously help you feel better, but I know that is impossible, so do know that you have so much support, from those right there with you to those of us who are now far away. Prayers are being thrown up to God for Cora from both near and far. You are right in the palm of God’s hand.ReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 1:42 pm

    Jennifer - “Without Christ, there will always be a “but” attached to my hope. With Christ, hope always has the last word.”

    Please know that your family will be lifted up in prayer each day. Yes, this is a new journey in your life that you did not plan on, but with God as the center you will make it through no matter what may come your way. Some days it will be hard to believe but just keep moving forward – tomorrow is always another day.

    Our family has just been down this road and we now have a new journey a head of us. We have learned and know that it is so important to have God in the center – along with a wonderful support system in the community and beyond.ReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 2:32 pm

    Emily Sewell Wallace - You don’t know me. I was at PCC the same time as Joel. His sister (Olivia and Leah) were our suitemates. But, Katie Liles posted this blog. I’m so sorry to hear about your little girl. She’s so precious! I have a 10 month old, and I just can’t imagine what you’re going through. My family and I will really be praying for you!
    Emily Sewell WallaceReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 3:17 pm

    lgraves - praying, believing and crying with you.

    leah (dunham) graves and familyReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 5:00 pm

    Ashley - I’m friends of Josh & Andi’s and I wanted to let you know that I’m praying for you and your precious little girl. I can’t imagine the shock and pain you are in but God is so big and, like that verse said, He can do immeasurably more than we can ever imagine.ReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 7:24 pm

    paige - i just found your story tonight. i am a pediatric oncology nurse in atlanta & would love to pray for cora!!
    i worked on the floor for years & am now a triage nurse. two of the children that were stage four neuroblastoma kids that 12 years later are 100% cancer free & doing just perfect!!–i’m sure there were many more from that year but i have followed those two specifically.

    praying for each of you!!!!ReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 8:14 pm

    christy ross - I found your story tonight and my heart is going out to you. thank you for the praises and requests lists. they are making my prayers for your situation very specific.ReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 11:30 pm

    thesecretlifeofkat - I just wanted to let you know I’m praying for you.ReplyCancel

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  • January 30, 2009 - 2:14 am

    Laura - Lecia’s daugher, Rhianna, is a friend of my daughter’s, and she e mailed me today asking for prayers. Prayers for Cora.

    I, too, believe in the power of prayer. And I wanted you to know that Cora is at the top of my list. I have posted an image of your beautiful baby on my blog tonight, and am going to spread the word as best as I can. Prayers for Cora will be endless.

    I have to let you know that in one short day, you have touched and changed me. I consider myself to be a darn good Catholic…but I am literally struck…like a piercing…by your undying faith and praise. And I want to thank you.

    I will continue to pray, and to spread the word.

    much love and many prayers
    LauraReplyCancel

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  • January 30, 2009 - 10:40 pm

    dhofen - Hello,
    You do not know me but my four year old son, Braden is finishing his treatment for stage 4 high risk neuroblastoma. Reading your blog reminded me very much of our journey. I do know that prayer helped our family tremendously and you will be closely held in ours! We would be very happy to listen or help in anyway we possibly can. My email is deliecehofen@hotmail.com. Many blessings to all of you!
    Deliece HofenReplyCancel

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  • January 30, 2009 - 11:57 pm

    Wendy - God Bless all of you. May you find peace knowing that His plan is in place and Cora has a special role. Your little Cora is beautiful.ReplyCancel

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  • January 31, 2009 - 12:22 am

    Debbie - Found you through another blog. I will be praying for your beautiful daughter and your family.ReplyCancel

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  • February 1, 2009 - 1:50 am

    april - Just a note to say that I am praying for your sweet child, and for you.ReplyCancel

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  • February 1, 2009 - 12:37 pm

    Brenda - Hello – you don’t know me but I wanted to let you know that the prayer train is on the move – I read your story, posted the prayer request on my blog and challenged my friends to do the same. It is working! We pray for Cora and your family.ReplyCancel

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  • February 1, 2009 - 10:10 pm

    D - Thank you for the update on little Cora. What a precious little wee one she is. I want you to know that I posted her story to my friends on the internet, so you have LOTS of powerful Payer Warriors out there praying for Cora and all of you. What a wonderful witness of faith you have.
    DonnaReplyCancel

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  • February 2, 2009 - 9:44 am

    Anonymous - Your blog is posted to our sunday school prayer list here in Connecticut. What a powerful witness you and your family are!! We are praying for you and Cora. Continue to keep us updated. God is in control and He wants the best for His people. God Bless you and Cora. I am praying that you will feel the presence of God right now. And Cora will be healed. Cheryl Ct.ReplyCancel

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  • February 2, 2009 - 9:18 pm

    Nicky8 - I found your blog from another blog and have been praying for you and your sweet baby girl. Many {{{HUGS}}} you you and your husband.
    ~NickyReplyCancel

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  • February 10, 2009 - 9:06 am

    Screaming Meme - My heart breaks for you both as I read your story and realize what you are now going through…It is the hardest thing anyone can ever go through…I know your faith will help you along this sad journey of healing…I pray that you are able to heal…Cora is watching over you both…If there is anything I can do for you all…Help raise money or get the word out about Cora’s playground…Let me know…Love, MemeReplyCancel

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a new journey

This is not a journey we ever imagined that we would be traveling. Especially not with our precious little girl. But here we are, trying to take it one step at a time.

It is hard to know where to begin. Here is a glimpse into the past few days:

Thursday afternoon we went to an appointment to make sure Cora’s ear infections had cleared up. Joel decided to come along because we were frustrated that she kept getting sick. I felt like she just wasn’t herself and we had noticed a few things we were concerned about. Cora’s stomach seemed very tight, she had gotten two “mystery” black eyes recently, and she wasn’t eating very much. Our pediatrician decided to do some blood work and x-ray her abdomen. After lots of waiting he came back into our room with tears in his eyes. He told us that from the x-ray he could tell that Cora’s liver was enlarged. He said there is a chance it could be nothing, but in his experience it is usually related to cancer. We left his office in shock and headed straight to Wesley. I don’t think Joel and I hardly said a word to each other the whole way to Wichita. We just cried.

We checked Cora into Wesley. She was so tired and hungry, but such a trooper. By this point she started crying every time she saw a nurse. She knew they were going to poke her and she didn’t like it! She had a CT scan late that evening. By 11:30 that night we knew that she had a “mass” by her kidney and spots on her liver. They told us that they would go ahead and give her an IV at 6:00 the next morning in case of surgeory. We had to go to bed not knowing much else until we could talk to the specialists the next morning. We didn’t sleep much!

Cora got to eat at 5:30am Friday morning and then got her IV at 6:00am. We tried to keep her busy the rest of the morning. The surgeon and oncologist came to talk to us around 9:30am. From the CT scan they could see a tumor next to her kidney and spots on her liver. Cora would need surgery to remove the tumor, take a bone marrow sample, and put a cath in for chemo treatments.

Cora was SO tired. Right before the surgery we pulled her around the hospital in a wagon. Joel and I took Cora back to the “holding room” before surgery around 12:30 that afternoon. That was one of the hardest things I have ever done. Everything had happened so fast and now we were waiting to hand our sweet little girl off to be cut open. We were so scared.

Waiting for Cora to get out of surgery was the LONGEST four hours of our lives, but she came out great. It was hard to hear the surgeon say that it did look like Neuroblastoma (a form of cancer). They had removed the tumor and some lymphnodes. The cancer was a stage 4 (it had spread all over) and she had over 100 spots on her liver. You can see her incesion across her abdomen in the picture above.

They took Cora back to Pediatric ICU. It is horrible seeing your baby hooked up to so many tubes and in pain. She has been so brave! We keep telling her she has to keep fighting hard.


Sunday morning Cora had another small surgery to put tubes in her ears. Our pediatrician recommended that we do that while we were here at the hospital. Cora’s immune system will be compromised whe she starts chemo and he didn’t want her dealing with more ear infections on top of the cancer. The surgeons are very happy with how she is recovering from surgery.

Today Cora got all her tubes taken off. Yeah! And she was doing so well they moved her back to the Pediactrics Unit. Her face is still pretty swollen from surgeory, but she peeks out her one little eye to look at us. She is starting to be more responsive which is so nice.
This is our room in Pediatrics and Cora is in her “jail crib” as we call it. Our families have been incredible through all of this. They met us at the hospital on Thursday when we checked in and someone has been with us every minute since. Our moms stayed with Cora during the night while she was still in PICU so that Joel and I could get some sleep. We are so thankful for them!

This afternoon Cora got to start eating again. She was hungry and seems to be keeping the milk down fine.
So now we wait. We know Cora has neroblastoma and will start chemo early this week. We don’t know all the results as far as how treatable her cancer is. We don’t know what chemo is going to look like for her. We will meet with the pediatric oncologist Monday morning and hopefully have some more answers.
This is SO hard. Joel and I would do anything to make this go away, but we can’t. It is out of our control and that is hard when you are used to being able to make things better for your little girl. Even with all the unknowns of this journey we do know that we serve a mighty God and he has little Cora right in his hands. Joel and I can’t make it through this on our own, but we know we can with the Lord walking with us each step of the way.
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1
God’s presence has been so evident to us. We have been SO overwhelmed by the love of our friends and family. We have had so many visitors, calls, gifts and prayers. We will never be able to express our gratitude to you all. We keep saying over and over how blessed we are with such a great support system. Thank you!
Praise God For:
-Joel being at the doctor’s appointment with me on Thursday when we found out
-The ear infections that brought us to the doctor in the first place
-Our pediatrician who knew the seriousness of an enlarged liver and got us to the hospital so fast
-Incredible doctor’s and nurses who have been so helpful and supportive
-How well Cora is recovering from surgeory
-The outpouring of love we have felt from our friends and family
-Our precious Cora who we love so much
Prayer Requests:
-The nurses would be able to stay on top of Cora’s pain so that she won’t be uncomfortable
-Understanding and wisdom for Joel and I as we are so overwhelmed with all of this new information
-Patience as we have to wait 10-14 days for the full test results to come back
-That Cora’s cancer would be very treatable with chemo
-That we would know how to comfort Cora and meet her needs
-That God would give us strength to get through this journey how ever long it might be
We will try to keep you updated as we learn more. We know our baby is covered in your prayers. Thanks for being on this journey with us!

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  • January 26, 2009 - 9:50 am

    Amanda - You have no idea what a blessing it is to hear that your faith is constant and secure. I found your blog through Julie when I heard about Cora. Know that we are praying for you, Joel, and sweet little Cora.ReplyCancel

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  • January 26, 2009 - 9:57 am

    Marie - Jess, I don’t know if you remember me from K-State but we had a couple of classes together and knew each other from challenge. Devin and Joel were friends. Regardless, we’ll be praying for you and for little Cora. What a beautiful little girl. I’m glad you have such a great support system out there.ReplyCancel

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  • January 26, 2009 - 9:59 am

    Aaron and Shannon - We are praying for you guys…every day and every time I think of you. I hope things go ok this week and will be praying for Cora as she starts the chemo.ReplyCancel

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  • January 26, 2009 - 10:05 am

    The Balzers - Oh Jess, you are all loved by SO many! I have thought about you guys so much, and prayed every chance I get. We DO serve a mighty God who can do ANYTHING! Give Cora hugs for us…we’ll see you soon!ReplyCancel

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  • January 26, 2009 - 10:27 am

    PamperingBeki - I am so sorry that you guys have to deal with this. So sorry.

    I hope you don’t mind but I swiped a picture of Cora from your blog and put it on mine.

    Our church prayed for your family yesterday. I’ve posted a bit of your story on twitter and people had a tremendous response. There are more people praying for you than you may realize and I pray that God gives you all a peace that passes all understanding.ReplyCancel

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  • January 26, 2009 - 10:34 am

    Kendall Smith - Good to hear that Cora is doing well this morning! We are thinking about you guys CONSTANTLY and praying all the time. We’ll see you later today!ReplyCancel

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  • January 26, 2009 - 10:41 am

    Shawn - This comment has been removed by the author.ReplyCancel

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  • January 26, 2009 - 10:43 am

    Shawn - Thanks for updating–I left you a comment on another blog posting–we are inspired by your courage and are comforted to see what an amazing group of people you have surrounding you. We have also been reading all the blogs and keeping you in our thoughts (Charlie is the best pray-er of the group–we are all grateful to have your list of prayerful needs)
    You and Joel have been so strong–know that we think of you and Cora constantly–
    Lot of love from California–
    Shawn Charlie Maura Simone and LucasReplyCancel

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  • January 26, 2009 - 10:43 am

    The Sieberts - we love you guys and are praying so hard for precious Cora. thank you for taking the time to post an update.ReplyCancel

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  • January 26, 2009 - 10:53 am

    Nate M - Joel and Jess,
    Thanks for the update. Know that many are praying from Kearney.
    NateReplyCancel

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  • January 26, 2009 - 11:00 am

    The Sweigart Family - So good to hear that Cora is doing well. I hope to come see you guys on Wednesday. We are praying hard for that little girl, as are SO MANY others. Thank you for the update.ReplyCancel

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  • January 26, 2009 - 11:28 am

    meg duerksen - can’t stop thinking of you every minute.
    everyone is feeling for you. i pray every time i think of you. love you all and hope for God’s strength and peace through everyday.
    she is god’s precious gift.
    i wish i could give you a big hug right now. as much for me as it would be for you. thank you for the update too…nice to hear straight from the source.
    love you guys.ReplyCancel

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  • January 26, 2009 - 11:31 am

    The Bohrer's - Joel/Jess – “For I know the plans I have for Cora, declares the Lord, plans to prosper her and not to harm her, plans for hope and a future.” Jer 29:11

    We love you and are praying for your whole family.

    Brice, Heidi, Abigail, Isaac, Ethan and Levi BohrerReplyCancel

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  • January 26, 2009 - 11:32 am

    Joel Smith - What an awesome powerful example you guys are. I find myself crying when I think about it. The story you guys will be able to tell after you are through with this will be unbelievable.

    Joel SmithReplyCancel

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  • January 26, 2009 - 11:52 am

    gatheringpeeps - Jess, Joel and Cora –
    We are praying for you.
    Thank you for sharing the information on your blog.
    Tami and Chris
    and familyReplyCancel

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  • January 26, 2009 - 11:55 am

    Mike, Adrienne and Lincoln - Jess, I heard about Cora this weekend and have been so burdened by what is going on in her little body. I just want you to know that you are all in my prayers, and I have posted some information about Cora on my blog so that others who don’t even know you will be on their knees in prayer also.ReplyCancel

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  • January 26, 2009 - 12:16 pm

    Jenae - As I read your post, I have tears rolling down my face. I cannot imagine what you are going through, but want you to know that you are in our prayers each and every day. I am specifically praying that God will remove the cancer from Cora’s body and that he will bring comfort to you and Joel as you are taking care of her. Your dependence on Him through this most trying time of your life is definitely an example to me and so many. Rest assured that you, Joel, and Cora are being lifted up in prayer by thousands of people!ReplyCancel

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  • January 26, 2009 - 12:25 pm

    Courtney e - Praying for you LOTS.ReplyCancel

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  • January 26, 2009 - 1:07 pm

    Adam & Abbe Doll - Joel & Jessica- Want you to know that we are lifting you up- got a message saying you all needed prayer and hunted down your blog. I am so sorry. I want you to know that we are going to lift you up. I called Adam and we are praying for Cora, and you two. We are still in Wichita, so if there is anything we can do, Wesley isn’t more than 10 min. away. Praying Hard- Adam & Abbe DollReplyCancel

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  • January 26, 2009 - 1:10 pm

    Jennifer - Although, I don’t know you, I feel I do through the beautiful descriptions that Julie gives on her site. I am Ori’s “other” babysitter. Since Julie told me about your precious Cora I have continued to pray for her many times daily. I have told many people at church to pray for your family. I have No words that feel right for this situation. Just know many people are praying and the power of prayer is incredible.ReplyCancel

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  • January 26, 2009 - 1:22 pm

    Julie Friesen - Joel, Jess, and Cora-
    I can’t stop thinking and praying for your little family. I have laid awake nights with thoughts about your situation. Know that you are being prayed for by those who love you, and by those who love those who love you. There are people all around the world praying for you because of your friends and family’s concern for you. I know you didn’t choose this and we would all choose for it to go away in an instant, but even in the brokenness of cancer, God is using Cora and your response to Him. Thank you for the Praise that you can give to God in the midst of pain. As you know, He loves you so much and has Cora wrapped in His loving arms. We all love you so much and will continue to cover you in prayer.ReplyCancel

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  • January 26, 2009 - 2:50 pm

    Cristy Harder - Jess-

    I am lifting precious Cora up in prayer whenever she comes to mind…which is all the time. I am praying hard and have the mom’s on my online Mother’s Group praying for you as well. Huge hugs and prayers to you.

    Cristy HarderReplyCancel

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  • January 26, 2009 - 3:11 pm

    Melanie-Pearl - My grandma was neighbor to the Macs in Elbing a long time ago—today I got an email from a friend of on of your friends asking me to pray. Dad confirmed that Grandma had told them about it this weekend.

    Your daughter is SO captivatingly beautiful!

    On my knees for you all. Please let me know if I can do anything to help shoulder the burden.
    -Melanie (was Thiessen)ReplyCancel

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  • January 26, 2009 - 3:59 pm

    alethea - I am so sorry for the pain in Cora’s life and yours. You seem to be facing impossible things with such humility and courage. We are with you.ReplyCancel

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  • January 26, 2009 - 4:17 pm

    Tyler and Gillian - Hey Jess and Joel,
    It breaks my heart to think about what you’re going through! Please know that many people in Washington state are praying for you and your gorgeous little girl. Thanks for the update.

    -GillianReplyCancel

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  • January 26, 2009 - 4:39 pm

    Andy and Katie - Joel and Jess,
    Thinking about you guys and Cora all the time. She is such a sweet little girl and is soooo blessed to have an awesome mommy and daddy there by her side. We pray for you often and have many in NC praying for you as well. Love to you all!
    KatieReplyCancel

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  • January 26, 2009 - 5:59 pm

    Adam and Jill - You quoted part of Psalm 46 in your post – we have been praying that Psalm for you since we received the news about Cora. May you feel His ever present help during this time of trouble. May He remove your fear and help you to be still and know that He is God and He will be exalted as a result of this. The Lord of Hosts is with us! The God of Jacob is our fortress!ReplyCancel

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  • January 26, 2009 - 6:06 pm

    kristin at prairiedaze.com - I’ve only seen this sweet baby’s pictures on megan’s blog…and now i hold this news.

    my prayers are sincere and real.

    know that there is a community wider than you know holding you all.

    may god’s peace and calm be close.ReplyCancel

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  • January 26, 2009 - 7:06 pm

    Chris and Mandi Ridenour - I do not personally know you but we are praying for you both and your little Cora. She looks so precious and sweet. We pray that God gives you the strength you need in all of this. We also pray that little Cora will be healed. Know that there are many prayers being said for you in this hard time.
    In Christ, Mandi and Chris RidenourReplyCancel

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  • January 26, 2009 - 8:27 pm

    Gail - Joel and Jess–I read Psalm 121 today with tears as I prayed for your little girl. It comforts me to remember that Cora’s protector never slumbers, that He is a shelter right by her side (and yours). Thanks for the update.ReplyCancel

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  • January 26, 2009 - 10:16 pm

    Heather - Jessica and Joel,

    Your faith is definantly making you so strong through this! I can totally see Jesus shining through this story of the journey you are on and just in the strength I saw in you yesterday at the hospital! I told me class about Cora today and we prayed for her! My class is so sensitive to the needs of others!

    I’ve been reading this blog and crying for you! May God continue to be your rock.

    Call if you need anything!1

    Much love,
    HeatherReplyCancel

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  • January 26, 2009 - 10:23 pm

    Heather - Jessica and Joel,

    Your faith is definantly making you so strong through this! I can totally see Jesus shining through this story of the journey you are on and just in the strength I saw in you yesterday at the hospital! I told me class about Cora today and we prayed for her! She will be prayed for faithfully by these kids! My class is so sensitive to the needs of others!

    I’ve been reading this blog and crying for you! May God continue to be your Rock.

    Call if you need anything!

    Much love,
    HeatherReplyCancel

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  • January 26, 2009 - 11:50 pm

    Brad, Kara, & Braden Janzen - Jess, it was so good to see a post from you with news on Cora. I haven’t been able to stop thinking of you and your family these past several days and I pray for you often! I wanted you to know, too, that although I am not in KS with you, I have gathered LOTS of people here in NE to be praying for your family as well. Thank goodness for the power of prayer. I plan to see you in a couple weeks when we’re in KS. I miss you so much and wish I was there with you! Give Cora a hug and kiss from the Janzen family!ReplyCancel

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  • January 27, 2009 - 12:49 am

    Erica - Hey Guys. You have been heavy on my heart today. I spent some intense time before the Throne today for your family. We will be praying for you as you begin this unexpected journey.

    We are in Wichita now and would love to help in any way we can.ReplyCancel

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  • January 27, 2009 - 11:53 am

    Anonymous - I found your blog through pamperingbeki.

    I’m praying for Cora, your family, and her caregivers.

    SallyReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 10:55 pm

    Andrea @ Mommy Snacks.net - I came here from Angie from Bring the Rain. I will be praying for you as little Cora, and your family as you battle this.ReplyCancel

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  • January 28, 2009 - 11:11 pm

    kelly - fervently praying for sweet Cora. Luckily, God’s hands are the best hands to be in :) ReplyCancel

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  • January 29, 2009 - 12:41 am

    Nan - I am a friend of your cousin, Andi. I just wanted you to know that I’m praying for you and your sweet girl. I’m so so sorry. May God continue to bless him with his indescribable peace and comfort as you wait on Him.ReplyCancel

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  • January 29, 2009 - 11:32 am

    erin - I found your blog through douglasandmain. Your family is in my daily prayers. I pray that our awesome God overpower you with His peace that surpasses all understanding.

    in Him,
    Erin FoxReplyCancel

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  • January 29, 2009 - 2:21 pm

    Michel - Best wishes from overseas.
    My thoughts go out to you. Many relatives of mine have sadly passed away. My grandfather has been recently diagnosed with lungcancer (stage one) and is in treatment.
    Best wishes,
    Michel Friedrichs
    The NetherlandsReplyCancel

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  • January 31, 2009 - 11:43 pm

    Cherie - I know another little baby that made this same journey. Her name is Baylee Banning and she is now cancer free. Here is her web page. http://www.carepages.com/carepages/BayleesBattle/updates/1927495?client_code=default&ipc=mur

    I will add little Cora to our prayer list at church. God is AWESOME and can do wonderful things.Stay strong and may God bless little Cora and both of you.ReplyCancel

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  • February 1, 2009 - 9:43 am

    Warm n Wonderful - Keep up your amazing strength. I can’t imagine the pain you are suffering. I am happy that you have your faith to guide you and your family and friends to support you.ReplyCancel

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  • February 4, 2009 - 2:25 pm

    Katarina - Praying that the Lord may hold you all in his everlasting arms.
    I can’t even begin to imagine.ReplyCancel

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  • February 10, 2009 - 1:29 pm

    Jessica - I just found your story on Phoenix’s page. I’m so sorry to hear of your loss, but when reading your story I noticed that your sweet Cora’s symptoms started off similarly to someone else I “know”. (I’m only a blog reader, have never met them.) Go to http://www.famofcookies.blogspot.com/ to read their story. Like Cora, their baby, Bree, had mysterious black eyes.

    Again, I’m so sorry for your loss. I don’t want to be overbearing, as I’m sure you’re grieving, but sometimes it helps to know that you’re not the only one that has ever battled with something. It breaks my heart. SO sorry.ReplyCancel

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  • February 11, 2009 - 3:27 am

    Susan - So sorry to read of your loss. We pray for God’s strength & ultimately his peace for you and your dear family.
    Stephen & Sue Aiton & Family in AZReplyCancel

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  • February 18, 2009 - 1:54 pm

    Kristin - You are amazing. I too am touched by your faith in Christ and in His Will for your lives. May God grant you the strength to make it through the next weeks and months in His arms. Love from Michigan ~ The Bleyenberg FamilyReplyCancel

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  • February 21, 2009 - 5:15 pm

    Patty - I came across your site via a twitter link…I’m very sorry to hear of your loss…I can’t imagine how you must feel and commend you for going skiing,etc to try and enjoy yourselves together. I pray you will find peace, hope and strength to overcome the emptiness you must feel. Have you seen this site? http://www.kaylenswritetoheal.com We’re helping parents deal with the death of a child. Help us help them. Every $$ and email count
    God bless you…ReplyCancel

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  • March 7, 2009 - 2:31 pm

    Whitney - You dont know me but I came across your blog and my heart goes out to you. I honestly could not imagine and I am so so sorry that you have to go through this. Your cute family will definetly be in my prayers!ReplyCancel

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cora’s story

Cora was born on March 5, 2008. We were instantly in love with our baby girl. She was such a joy to us in every way. We loved being a new little family and having this sweet little girl to share our lives with. She meant everything to us.

In late November Cora started having multiple ear infections along with a respiratory infection. We were visiting the pediatrician quite frequently and she seemed to keep getting sick. After trying lots of medication and still noticing that Cora just didn’t seem to be getting better, Joel decided to go to her appointment with me on January 22nd. Besides the ear infections we described a few other things we had noticed and the pediatrician decided to take an x-ray of Cora’s abdomen. About an hour later he came into our room with the news that forever changed our lives. Cora’s liver was very enlarged and he was concerned that it could possibly be the result of some kind of cancer. 

He sent us directly to the hospital in Wichita where we would spend the next 17 days. After checking in, lots of tests, and finally a CT scan we were forced to wait until the morning to learn what the doctors were going to do. In the morning our worst fears were confirmed. Cora had a tumor that needed to be removed immediately–it was most likely from cancer. After a whirlwind of meetings with doctors, surgeons, and the oncologist we were holding our little girl waiting to hand her off to the nurses for surgery. That was the HARDEST thing we have ever had to do. We never dreamed that this would be the last time we would be able to laugh and play with our little girl here on earth. After the surgery Cora was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma cancer. It is still so hard to say that word “cancer”. The doctors and oncologist were very positive about Cora’s chances for recovery. Since she wasn’t yet a year old there was a very good chance that chemotherapy and possibly other treatments would be effective. The next few weeks were a roller coaster. It was HORRIBLE watching Cora lie helplessly in that hospital bed and not be able to do anything to help her. The plan for Cora’s treatment and when we would be able to go home seemed to change every day. We were forced to fall to our knees before the Father and trust Him with our little girl. That was the only thing we could do. 

Cora had four surgeries and completed the first round of chemotherapy while we were in the hospital. She was hooked up to so many different monitors and medicines we couldn’t even hold her. Eventually she was put on a respirator and then an oscillator because of her oxygen levels. While she wasn’t progressively getting better we held onto the hopeful words of her doctors. We were shocked that awful Sunday morning when we were awoken by my mom who was staying in Cora’s room. We were sleeping in the parent’s room down the hall and had just left Cora two hours earlier. The doctor told us that Cora’s little lungs were failing and there just wasn’t anything else they could do. We watched so shocked and helplessly as our little girl slipped away, now safe in the arms of Jesus.

Cora went to be with Jesus on February 8th, 2009. She was 11 months old.

Our world has been rocked to the core. Never in our lives did we imagine that we would have to go back to our house alone, without Cora. Never did we imagine that our time with Cora would be so short. Never in our lives have we clung to Jesus so tightly. And His love and grace to us has been truly indescribable. This is the most horrible thing that we have ever been through, yet we have seen God working in our lives and the lives around us in a mighty way.

We started this blog when Cora was born to post pictures of her for friends and family to see as she grew. While we were in the hospital we used it as a tool to share what was happening with Cora and how people could pray for our family. It was amazing to see how many people stormed the gates of heaven on Cora’s behalf. We literally had thousands of people praying for us all over the country. It was incredible and humbling. The outpouring of love in our community and around the world we have felt since Cora went to heaven has been equally amazing. We decided to start a fund for a playground at our church for a memorial in Cora’s honor. Through our blog and a website called Etsy, over 50,000 dollars was raised for what is now known as Cora’s Playground. It is such an awesome remembering stone for our family. A reminder of God’s love and faithfulness to us.

While our hearts hurt so deeply every single day, we continue to rely on the HOPE that we have in our Lord. We miss our sweet Cora desperately. We know we can’t continue on this road in our own strength. We continue to seek the Lord and take things day-by-day. 

Thanks for joining us in our journey!

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  • August 27, 2009 - 9:42 am

    Jo - Goodness, I cry every.single.time I read about sweet Cora. I don’t even know her and I miss her myself. It’s just that connection. I have read your blog for a few months now, and I cry EVERY TIME! I am at work and I have tears in my eyes as I type. The beautiful Lord will bless ya’ll. And continues to bless you. I pray for strength for you and your sweet hubby :) Ya’ll are awesome!ReplyCancel

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  • August 31, 2009 - 11:17 pm

    Valerie Bowman - Thank you for sharing your family’s story. Thank you for reminding me not to take today for granted. Thank you for inspiring me and many others with your strength and hope… a hope that can come only from Christ. God bless you and your husband as you struggle to live without Cora and as you welcome your 2nd child.ReplyCancel

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  • September 29, 2009 - 12:17 am

    Adina - A friend told me about your blog recently, and since I have an hour to myself, I sat down to have a read. I’m bawling here for your sweet Cora, and for your pain in losing her. We lost a baby, too, 7years ago, and I remember that ache, that terrible feeling of loss that only someone who has lost a child can know. It is overwhelming at times. And yet, God is gracious, as you know, and he shows his love and tenderness even more at these painful times. Sometimes his plan isn’t what our plan was, but knowing he has a plan for each life–that he loves us so much he would make a plan– just takes my breath away. Thank you for sharing your story on here.ReplyCancel

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  • October 1, 2009 - 11:52 am

    Beth - oh my goodness. I am shedding tears for your family. You will now be in my thoughts and prayers on a daily basisi.ReplyCancel

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  • October 1, 2009 - 12:37 pm

    Jana Green - I found your blog about near the end of sweet Cora’s fight. I remember just crying and crying and holding my son, who was just 2 days older than Cora.

    I am so sorry that anyone would have to go through this, and just amazed that you have allowed God to make a way to find good in Cora’s sweet life, and an awesome way for others, including her sibling, to remember her forever. And not only remember her, but laugh and smile and giggle while remembering her.

    God Bless You and the rest of your lives.

    Jana GreenReplyCancel

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  • October 1, 2009 - 1:03 pm

    Frugal Jen - I was reminded of sweet Cora today as I read about her on another blog.

    My heart still breaks thinking of your loss. May God give you the many graces of heaven.ReplyCancel

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  • October 1, 2009 - 1:48 pm

    Polka Dot Moon - Not a day goes by that I don’t think of Cora and the both of you. My Jillian is only 5 days older than Cora. When I click on your blog – Jillian points to Cora’s beautiful pictures, smiles and says baby.

    You, Joel, Cora and Baby Mac are in our prayers always.

    DeniseReplyCancel

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  • October 1, 2009 - 1:50 pm

    Candi - I couldn’t keep from weeping while reading this. I have a two year old and we recently lost the second child we were expecting.

    What you have had to go through has to be an unimaginable sort of pain. May the Lord go with you.ReplyCancel

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  • October 1, 2009 - 7:52 pm

    Morgan Baker - Thank you so much for sharing! I am so inspired by the way you are using little Cora to show God’s immense love for us and the opportunity to share that with others!
    I’m just a college student (husband-less and child-less) but your story is truly a blessing to me as I feel like I’m starting to grow up. The strength, faith, and love I have seen your family exhibit (through reading your story) has been LIFE-CHANGING. She is such a beautiful little girl and will leave footprints on the hearts of everyone who reads her story.
    Ps: My birthday is March 5, 1990. This day will be even more special in 2010 because I feel a tremendous HONOR to share my birthday with this fine lady who has exhibited tremendous strength. Thanks again :) ReplyCancel

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  • October 2, 2009 - 5:03 pm

    takemetomaui - Oh my heart just breaks for you! What a beautiful, precious little angel. Praise God that He brings hope and strength in the most heartbreaking times. Thank you for sharing your story!ReplyCancel

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  • October 2, 2009 - 7:19 pm

    Anonymous - Thank you for sharing your story. I am always amazed every time I come to your page and see how open and honest you are and how much faith you have in God. Your story has inspired me in so many ways. When I begin to feel frustrated w/ my own little girl I often think of you and am instantly humbled, realizing you would give anything to you have sweet Cora running around. I pray for your family often and my greatest prayer for you is that God will bring joy to your family again after all you’ve suffered.ReplyCancel

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  • October 2, 2009 - 8:12 pm

    Anonymous - I have been reading your blog for a while, and everytime I see the pictures of your sweet Cora, I smile b/c she is just the most beautiful little girl. She captures a piece of my heart each time I look at her picture. I can only imagine how much you miss her, and I am amazed at the good things that you have done to honor your daughter. I know you will miss Cora always, but you will have open arms waiting to hold your sweet new baby, and you’ll have such awesome stories to tell this new little one about his big sister. I can’t wait to purchase a dress from your shop for my daughter. Every time I visit your shop, you are sold out! What a testimony to the work you are doing.
    DonnaReplyCancel

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  • October 2, 2009 - 8:13 pm

    Anonymous - Should have said, “his or her” big sister. Sorry, should have proofread before I published :)
    DonnaReplyCancel

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  • October 2, 2009 - 9:52 pm

    Alli Unruh - Cora’s story brings tears to my eyes,everytime you post, and i reminded of keeping my eyes set on eternity. Thank you for sharingReplyCancel

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  • October 2, 2009 - 10:47 pm

    Courtney - Jess I read your blog everyday and I pray for you guys all the time. I know that Cora and my son Dylan are playing and rejoycing in Heaven together. Stay strong and continue to trust God. One day we will all be together again.
    Courtney MayfieldReplyCancel

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  • October 3, 2009 - 4:47 am

    Givinya De Elba - Came via MckMama. Thankyou for sharing your story. When I was 3, my baby sister Julie died of neuroblastoma (this is back in 1980). I cannot imagine how my parents made it through, nor how you did either.

    God had given me three beautiful babies, and I weep at the thought of ever losing any of them.

    I can only hope and pray that when it’s my turn to be brave in whatever life brings my way, I can have the courage that you have, and that my faith would stand up strong.ReplyCancel

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  • October 4, 2009 - 2:06 pm

    Tess - I find it hard to even remember how I can across this blog. What i don’t find it hard to remember is the night i stayed up and read, from the beginning to the end, sweet Cora’s story. I had just had my first child, a girl. She was only 6 weeks old. As she laid there, next to my bed sleeping, i just sobbed. How can someone go through this and come out still breathing? The answer can ONLY be God. I want you to know that Cora’s story has helped me to love my daughter more than I ever imagined. To take EVERY day as a gift and treat it as one. You have given me strength and appreciation, and helped me to love beyond my wildest dreams. All because of Cora’s story. Thank you for sharing and helping others in more ways than you know.ReplyCancel

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  • October 6, 2009 - 1:27 am

    Stefanie - I find myself reading Cora’s story almost every time I come to your blog. Thank you for having the strength to share your story. I have a 9 1/2 month old daughter and I can’t even imagine losing her. I am amazed at your faith and just want to say I think of you often and know your sweet Cora is waiting for you in Heaven.ReplyCancel

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  • October 6, 2009 - 10:18 am

    The Sneaky Mommy - I just stumbled upon your blog…and couldn’t quit reading. Your sweet baby Cora went to be with Jesus on my birthday. I’m so sorry I just found this now–I could have been praying sooner! My best friend’s little baby girl has the same cancer, has had the same surgeries, and is now in a waiting game to see where this cancer goes after chemo. My heart has broken for their little Ruby so many times and now breaks for your sorrow.
    Can you imagine life without our wonderful, merciful, gracious, loving Savior? HE truly is the sustainer and giver of life! HE also is the great comforter! Thank you for using this horrendous heart breaking time to bring glory to our Savior, to lift Him in a way that others can only be stunned by the God-honoring example you are living.
    I know I’m a complete stranger, but my heart is filled with love and prayers for your family today! Thank you for being so transparent and for honoring Christ through little Cora’s life!ReplyCancel

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  • October 6, 2009 - 4:29 pm

    Anonymous - God bless you, your family and sweet little Cora, rest in peace.

    Crying here, as I watch my baby boys sleeping, reading Cora’s story.

    You are an inspiration to me to be a better mother, person and follower of Christ.ReplyCancel

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  • October 7, 2009 - 12:50 pm

    amy - IM SURE YOU HAVE HEARD THIS MANY TIMES BEFORE,BUT YOUR STORY TOUCHED MY HEART AND PUT TEARS IN MY EYES.I HAVE A 4YR.OLD DAUGHTER NEVAEH WITH LEUKEMIA AHD WE ARE GOING THROUGH GOOD AND BAD DAYS.MY HEART GOES OUT TO YOU AND YOUR FAMILY.ALL I CAN SAY IS WOW!THE LORD IS GOOD,HE GIVES US STRENTGH THAT WE NEVER KNEW WE HAD.ReplyCancel

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  • October 7, 2009 - 2:05 pm

    A.Love - I just found your blog today.
    I absolutely cannot imagine what you have gone through and my heart physically aches.
    I know what challenges do to my faith and how they bring me closer to God. I am touched by your closeness to him through this battle.ReplyCancel

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  • October 9, 2009 - 10:15 pm

    Angie - I just found your blog today. It just breaks my heart. Glad to hear about the playground that is fantastic!ReplyCancel

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  • October 11, 2009 - 5:01 pm

    Anonymous - Again, another stranger who has been touched by your beautiful angel. I have followed your blog since February and know that I have been praying for you and your family since then. You show such courage and strength even though I am sure, at times, you don’t feel all that brave and strong. Your strength comes from the Lord and I thank you for sharing with the world what a majestic Father we have. I can’t wait to meet you and your entire family one day in Heaven. :) ReplyCancel

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  • October 12, 2009 - 9:15 pm

    Anonymous - My little girl will be turning 1 this week, I follow your blog and it touches me ever so much to see your faith and strength! I also cry every time I read about your precious Cora, it makes me realize just how precious life is and helps me to appreciate every moment I have with my children. My thoughts and prayers are with you always! Can’t wait to see your new addition to the family!ReplyCancel

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  • October 14, 2009 - 12:29 pm

    Sheila - I visited your blog for the first time today via McMama’s. I am so sorry for your loss. I too lost a child to cancer, my only son Tony, who was 20 years old when he died March 25, 1995. His birthday is coming up on Oct. 19 and I still miss him so much. But even though life is hard sometimes, God is always good. I can honestly tell you that God has taken each step with me since that day. He is a wonderful Friend. My husband also died with cancer 6 years ago. I am so thankful to know that I can be with them again someday and I am blessed to know that as much as my Tony loved babies, I believe he is playing with your sweet Cora today! I will meet you in Heaven if not here on earth. You are such an encouragement to others with your blog. Bless you!ReplyCancel

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  • October 23, 2009 - 2:21 pm

    Regan - I have been reading your blog now and wanted to comment for so long, but could never find the words. I do not know you or your family and do not know how I can across your blog, but your story has touched me. It has helped me fully appreciate each day with my kids and realize that each day is a blessing and it can chance in an instant. The pictures of Cora touch my heart everytime I see your blog, and she reminds me of my little girl. Please know that there are people out there praying for your family and still thinking of you even months after Cora’s passing. Good luck with your new baby, I hope he/she brings some peace to your family. Thank you for sharing you story.ReplyCancel

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  • October 26, 2009 - 12:42 pm

    Lori - I am so sorry for your loss. You could see that Cora was very loved, and she has touched my heart. You are in our prayers.ReplyCancel

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  • October 29, 2009 - 3:13 pm

    Anonymous - I am so sorry. Your strength in God, friends, & family only can re-new your precious spirit. I pray for you all. Cora is a beautiful little girl & now a precious angel. God Bless you all & your precious new blessing from God.ReplyCancel

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  • November 1, 2009 - 7:49 pm

    Kimberly Shedd - Wow… what a heart breaking story of loss and an uplifting story of faith. I hope your Cora takes our little Grace under her wing in heaven. Grace was born and passed away 17 days ago. I am so encouraged that you are having a healthy pregnancy now. It gives me hope!
    Kimberly SheddReplyCancel

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  • November 4, 2009 - 12:41 pm

    Tonya - My friend Susan told me about your blog.. I’m not sure how she found you. I’m so sorry to read about your sweet daughter. We too lost a child to neuroblastoma. Our son Brent went HOME to be with JESUS on January 2, 2007.

    I’m so encouraged by your words today. (I started reading your post today which led me to read Cora’s story) It STILL hurts to think of all that our son suffered through.. it hurts not to have him here, but we’re SO THANKFUL to know he’s with his LORD! I find myself thinking/feeling the same thoughts/feelings you shared. Some days it IS hard to function, and on those “good days” you DO almost feel like people might assume you’re “over it”.

    I’ve actually had someone say (by leaving an anonymous message on my blog) that I SHOULD be over it. I don’t know how any parent that loved their child could ever be “over” their child not outliving them? I am OKAY with KNOWING that he’s with JESUS and I’m GRATEFUL to know he’s not sick or hurting any longer.. but as long as I draw breath I’ll NEVER be “over it”. (You know what I mean?) ☺

    THANKS SO MUCH for sharing the joy that can ONLY be found in CHRIST! It is INDEED a WONDERFUL thing to have JOY in the midst of your deepest sorrow!

    In HIM,
    TonyaReplyCancel

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  • November 9, 2009 - 6:21 pm

    Anonymous - i love reading blogs so i read this one. I like reading the story of blogs so, i read this one. It was SO touching! i LOVE reading blogs about babies, but this is one of my favs! I am a kid and understand this purfect! I can’t bare reading that part in the story when you stood there WATCHING YOUR CHILD DIE. Right IN FRONT OF YOUR EYES! i can’t help but cry, cry ,and cry more, when i read it. It is by far the saddest thing i have every read. I LOVE YOU CORA!!!!!
    Check out these websites:
    Kayleigh’s story;
    mycharmingkids.com

    i hope you learn about these blogs and pray for them.
    Read the story’s to learn more and the blogs they’ve done in the past.ReplyCancel

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  • November 26, 2009 - 10:33 pm

    Celine - I am reading Cora’s story for the first time tonight. I am so incredibly sorry for your loss. Your faith is amazing. I don’t know you, yet I am shedding tears for you. Little Cora was so beautiful! I mourn her earthly life, but celebrate her life in Heaven.ReplyCancel

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  • November 29, 2009 - 10:21 pm

    Bill and Mary - Jess, I have been following your blog for some time now, and I keep coming back to read Cora’s story. Such a beautiful tribute to a beautiful little girl.

    ~MaryReplyCancel

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  • December 2, 2009 - 5:14 pm

    Anonymous - I have been following your blog for a while. It is heartbreaking to know that little Cora had a short stint in this life but how wonderful to know that she is with Him!

    You and your husband are such an inspiration to me and makes me want to get closer to Him.

    May God continue to wrap His loving
    arms around both of you!

    Evelyn in Newport News…ReplyCancel

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  • December 16, 2009 - 11:37 pm

    Allison - Jess, my youngest is 11 mo old right now. His birthday is 2½ weeks away. My heart breaks for you and Joel. I cannot even begin to fathom your loss. But I pray that God brings this new baby safe and healthy and that this new joy will help ease your pain a little.ReplyCancel

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  • January 15, 2010 - 7:43 am

    Anonymous - My heart aches for all of you. I’ve experienced the death of 2 sets of twins (Max & Ian, June 2006 and Jay & Molly, Nov 2008) due to premature birth. Since the loss of Jay & Molly, we’ve adopted a little girl named Charlee who is now 9 months old. Everyday I wake up wondering what is going to happen to her. Will she be healthy? Will she be in an accident? Will someone come and take her away? Even though I cling to our Father, my fears do not go away. Nothing lessens the love, sadness and the longing I have for my chilren. I just relish in every day I have with Charlee. We tell her about her brothers & sister and take her to the cemetary with us to visit their graves. She will know about our angels in heaven.

    I will continue to pray for your family. Do not be afraid to be happy and enjoy little Levi. You will never forget Cora and you will never stop loving her. But that does not mean you cannot love other children.

    May God bless you and keep you.ReplyCancel

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  • January 16, 2010 - 2:33 pm

    Mrs. Lynch - I just came across your page and my eyes are burning with tears. But I know we serve a loving God and he is with you and your family always.Stay strong in your faith and your devotion to God. Bless your family and new addition.ReplyCancel

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  • January 29, 2010 - 10:03 am

    gavin & sophie's mom - I’m not sure what to say… my heart is hurting and my eyes are burning. I am very sad for you, your family and sweet baby Cora. But what you have done in her memory is wonderful. We miscarried at 5 months(a girl) in October of 2008, in October of 2009, we were blessed with a beautiful baby girl. I can only imagine how you feel. I will hug Sophie alittle tighter in memory of your Cora. Kiss baby Levi and enjoy everyday… Love to you and your family.ReplyCancel

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  • January 30, 2010 - 11:30 pm

    TDM Wendy - blessings to your family and your sweet cora in heaven. cancer is about the lamest thing out there.ReplyCancel

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  • February 7, 2010 - 11:49 am

    purplemoose - I found your blog almost a year ago and I’ve been following you and praying ever since. Just wanted you to know that you are still on my heart and in my prayers now, as I imagine this is a tough week for you. I pray that the LORD hold you very close.ReplyCancel

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  • February 8, 2010 - 9:20 pm

    Laura Preston - I found it odd that I stumbled upon this blog exactly one year after your daughter passed away. I am so sorry that you have had to go through so much pain. God’s love is amazing and I can truly see how He is working through you. I am pregnant with a baby girl (due in 10 weeks) and I have a 3-year old daughter. I could not imagine what I would do if I had to go through something so painful. I know your heart must hurt every single day. Your story has touched my life. Cora was such a beautiful little girl. May the Lord bless you and keep you.. Laura PrestonReplyCancel

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  • February 26, 2010 - 12:36 pm

    c and m - I am so deeply sorry for your loss. Unfair does not begin to describe it. Cora’s Playground is beautiful and such a compassionnate thing for you and your supporters to have done in her honor. Your son is just precious and very lucky to have a big sister watching over him and holding his hand as he grows – for I know she is right there with you all every day :) ReplyCancel

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  • March 6, 2010 - 7:54 am

    Jodee Leader - I also just stumbled upon your blog this morning. I am so sorry for the loss of your sweet girl.ReplyCancel

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  • March 15, 2010 - 11:37 pm

    Tabitha - I am so sorry for the loss of your girl. She is beautiful. I cry every time I read about her story. Thank you for having the courage to look beyond all your pain and heart break and do something beautiful with Cora’s playground. I stumbled upon your blog through a friend. I just want you to know that Cora’s story has helped me to appreciate so much more and have a little more faith in Jesus. Seeing you stay strong, go forward with your life, and remember your little darling Cora in such amazing ways gives me hope. May God abundantly bless your family. Every time you see a penny, pick it up. It is your little angel Cora letting you know she loves you, is thinking about you, and can’t wait to see you all one day in heaven!!! xoxoReplyCancel

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  • April 20, 2010 - 1:24 pm

    lolagirlkoch - My name is Laura koch, I also lost a child to Neurbolastoma, My son Keagen was 29 months at his death, he was also on a respirator and his lungs blead and he was gone. I know what you are speaking about, you never imaging these things for your children, ever. Hugs,
    Laura Koch
    lolagirlkoch@yahoo.comReplyCancel

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  • June 19, 2010 - 12:08 am

    Cooking From The Heart - wow! I am so sorry about your lost. I cried my eyes out reading your story, it just made me think about my kids, and I think is the worst thing that could ever happen to a mother, I pray that your family can find the strenght you need to keep going…..ReplyCancel

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  • July 2, 2010 - 8:32 pm

    sarah jake - i happened to link to your blog from another and it was a whirl of memories for me. My Isaac (who will be 3 this year) had emergency heart surgery on the day he turned 2 weeks old. and God was there through all the scary moments with the Dr’s trying to figure out what was going on. and He was my comfort as i sat there watching my baby boy lay sedated, hooked up to a dozen machines. and He was my rock last year during my pregnancy, as i sat though ultrasound after ultrasound to be sure that Christian didn’t have the same heart issue, while my husband was battling cancer and sitting though round after round of chemo. your daughters story hits so close to home with my heart, and yet my heart is glad at the comfort our Lord gives to His children. i am thankful for the reminders God uses so that we never forget His goodness & mercy. thank you for being that reminder today.ReplyCancel

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  • July 13, 2010 - 1:49 am

    Farnes and Jillian Williams - As a mother of 4 who just this last year found out I had stage 3 ovarian cancer, I am so happy to take on this action and endure it all for the sake of my children, now only if we were given peace that our children will never have to go through this. I can’t imagine having to sit and watch your precious child and not be able to do anything about it. I think to this day I hear that dreaded word “CANCER” and I cringe!!! My heart and prayers go out to you and your family, we will never know why but the lord blesses us and never gives us a trial we can’t handle. good luck to you and your sweet family!!ReplyCancel

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  • August 21, 2010 - 4:53 pm

    mary - Hello This is the first time I have been to your website. I kept seeing how you miss cora and finally clicked the link to read her story. I am so heartbroken, tears streaming down my face. I’m so sorry for your loss. I love your site and all the pics you have here. My son had to have open heart surgery at 11 months and we are so blessed by Elohim that he is still with us. I am so glad to know that you have had Adonai to lean on. Bless you and your family. Enjoy the child that is still with you. Blessings to you.♥♥ReplyCancel

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  • August 23, 2010 - 6:19 am

    maritza - i don’t know how i stumbled upon your website but i sit here now sobbing like a baby. i can not even begin to imagine your pain and sorrow. i wish i could hug you all right now as you have touched my heart greatly. you are an amazing family. may GOD continue to bless you and your family now and always.ReplyCancel

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  • October 1, 2010 - 12:35 pm

    giozi - I would like to tell you so many things, but my English is so bad. I cried with this.

    I lost a nephew when he was 6 months. It was very hard for the family, but only now that I am a mother I can have a slight idea of the pain of my sister in law and my brother, but still impossible to imagine. No one knows until it is lived. How to comfort a heart so shattered? how not to shoutd to God, angry, I could not avoid it, but only He can give us that strength. I cried for your little girl today and I also wanted to hug her and go running to hug my children. Thanks for sharing your testimony. May the Lord bless you and your family.ReplyCancel

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  • October 4, 2010 - 3:39 pm

    Amy - A mutual friend, Laura, told me about your blog and I am grateful. We lost our sweet Olivia in April and can echo these testimonies that only God’s tender mercy has gotten us through this season. She also gave me a copy of the book that you guys shared, Hope. It has been such and encouragement to me. My heart aches for you, thank you for the time that you have put into your blog and for the witness you have so publicly shared. I will pray for you and your family. Thank you to Laura and to you for your faith and your heart.ReplyCancel

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  • October 7, 2010 - 7:12 pm

    Jessica - I found your blog through under the sycamore and just wanted to say thank you for sharing your story and your unwavering trust in the Lord. What an amazing testimony. Thank you for reminding me not to take a single day for granted and pushing me to run to Jesus each and every day.ReplyCancel

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  • October 11, 2010 - 3:10 pm

    erintagle - I just foumd you/your blog through Ashley at Under the Sycamore. I’m in tears after reading Cora’s story. While I enjoy every second with my 5 month old daughter, I’m reminded to take nothing for granted. Thank you for sharing it (and your life) with us. xoxoxo,ErinReplyCancel

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  • December 2, 2010 - 10:56 am

    Claudine - I stumpled onto your blog. I was searching for a christmas stocking for my 5 month old daughter…Cora. I can’t stop crying. I am at work and really need to stop with personal stuff- but I could not close the page. I was drawn to your story and strength. I am thinking of my Cora and want to leave to just hold her. She is such a blessing to us and reading your story makes me want to just go and hold her tight. I am so very sorry for your loss. I am sure nothing can be said to ease your families pain. The pictures are so beautiful of both Cora and Levi.ReplyCancel

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  • December 13, 2010 - 1:19 am

    TDM Wendy - Ahhh, sweet Cora. What a heartbreaking story. Mixed in there with the God of hope. Cancer stinks. God is good. Life is hard. Cora was blessed to have you for 11 months.ReplyCancel

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  • January 10, 2011 - 1:06 am

    Amber - I just found your blog. My daughter’s birthday is 3/3/08. Tears were falling down my face as I read Cora’s story. I am deeply touched in your faith in God. He is the only one who can give true comfort. Bless your family’s hearts.ReplyCancel

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  • May 29, 2011 - 9:04 pm

    Lynn Gibbs - Last Sunday we saw our first grandchild Hannah make her profession of faith. Because I am now the oldest generation living here below, I wore my mother’s bracelet and my Cora earrings to represent those who have gone on ahead. I bought the earrings on Etsy to contribute to Cora’s Playground, and every time I wear them I remember your Cora, my precious grandmother, Cora Lucile, and my beautiful great grandmother, Cora Belle, who died when my grandmother was only 7 months old. Loss may shape us, but it does not defeat us. Thank you for sharing your family with us. May God bless you!ReplyCancel

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  • June 2, 2011 - 9:57 am

    Velita - I feel the pain of losing your sweet Cora. Mine is a different pain – the pain of never being able to have children. At 63 I thought I had it under control, but as my 11 siblings have grandchildren the pain is as fresh as when my husband and I were wanting to start a family. Don’t any of you take 1 second with your child for granted. God Bless You!ReplyCancel

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  • June 2, 2011 - 1:09 pm

    brandonlk - I came across your blog yesterday when I saw your amazing birthday party for your son. As I was looking through your blog I saw Cora’s story. I have tears in my eyes from reading it just now. I wanted to let you know that you and your family are an encouragement to me. You love the Lord and trust him even when the unthinkable happens. Your story has touched my life and I will share Cora’s story. God bless you and your family.

    Your sister in Christ,

    LindsayReplyCancel

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  • June 14, 2011 - 1:39 pm

    Stacy - I am so sorry to hear about your loss of your daughter. I couldn’t imagine the pain that it caused you and your husband. I love reading your blog. You are such an inspiration.ReplyCancel

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  • July 8, 2011 - 7:52 am

    Emily - Wow. As a new mom, myself, I cannot imagine losing a child, much less watching your child suffer and not be able to do anything about it. Your story is so sad, but how wonderful that you’ve been able to keep Cora’s memory alive.ReplyCancel

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  • August 26, 2011 - 11:40 pm

    Maria - You are an inspiration to me…you really are! You make me want to have a stronger heart…and a braver soul. I love my 3 kids so much it hurts…as I am sure you love your 3 as well. Your strength that you write about in Cora’s story is amazing. God Bless you and your wonderful family.

    Your Bloggy Friend
    MariaReplyCancel

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  • September 2, 2011 - 9:17 am

    Krysta Joelle - I came across your blog randomly and ended up having to read almost all of it. I cried for over 2 hours last night reading. Balled, actually. I just wanted to thank you for sharing your story and your faith. Thank you for the inspiration and for reminding me not to take even the little things for granted. God bless you and your family…ReplyCancel

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  • September 12, 2011 - 11:43 pm

    Teresa - I came across your blog via another blog..and the fact that you are in Kansas made me move more quickly. (I’m a Kansas Girl by birth and now live in New Mexico.) I adored the photos of your son visiting the zoo. Reading you mention Cora and not having seen photos of her, I knew that you had an angel. Moving to this page and reading about your short, much love filled, time with her brought tears. It hurt my heart so much seeing the date you lost her presence on Earth–it is my birthday. It was also the first birthday that I had to spend without my own mother who was killed in a car accident just a month earlier. I will never forget Cora’s story and I wish for you many blessings as you add one more sweet baby to your family.ReplyCancel

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  • September 13, 2011 - 3:24 pm

    Nanda - Thank you for sharing your beautiful, sweet daughter’s story. I cry at the sorrow of loss, but take joy in your knowledge and faith of our Savior’s love and atonement. Cora does indeed live on, and I know you will be reunited again. Thank you for your faith, as it has reached me and blessed me also. Hugs to you.ReplyCancel

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  • November 23, 2011 - 2:35 pm

    Nana - This comment has been removed by the author.ReplyCancel

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  • November 23, 2011 - 2:36 pm

    Nana - Sorry possible errors … I’m using google translator! :)

    I’m from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

    Thank you for sharing your strength and faith …. I believe that God put his blog that I read for some reason. Unable to hold back tears right now ….

    My favorite songs is “It is well with my soul” … know? A father wrote after a tragedy in the family and always imagine that only God is able to comfort the heart of a father and a mother when a child is gone.

    With love, Johanna SinclairReplyCancel

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  • November 25, 2011 - 1:13 am

    Amber Q. Perry - I had to keep coming back to this post, deciding what I should write… This is probably, hands down, the most emotional (for me) blog I have ever read.
    My oldest daughter was born in March of 2005 at 25 weeks gestation… We had no idea why my water broke 3 weeks earlier, at 22 weeks. We had no idea, when she was born with tumors protruding from her neck that we were in for some rough roads ahead of us. At 3 weeks old, our daughter Grace was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma and we were told that she required surgery ASAP… Grace was 3 weeks old, under 2lb’s and had a 5% chance of survival when we entrusted her to God and her surgeons. I remember holding hands and praying with my family around her isolette for God to watch her, hold her as I had not been able to do yet…
    6 hours into her surgery the surgeons came into the waiting room and I literally sank to my knees in prayer before them. I couldn’t hear the words they said because I was so emotional. Grace came through the surgery in a way they’d never seen before. The tumors required no dissection, they had literally fallen out when they had opened her up. God had placed his hands on our baby girl and he’d guided the surgeons as they worked on her. I thank God every day for his miracle…
    Our daughter is now 6 1/2 years old, she suffers from many, many medical issues. God had a plan for Grace though, he knew, from the moment she was born that she would serve him in ways I had not imagined. She is a walking medical miracle for the things she has gone through… I read your story, on this day of giving thanks and I wanted to tell you this; Thank you so much for sharing your daughters story with me.
    I read of your struggles, during her time in the hospital and my heart wept for you. I remember days such as that. The uncertainty, the worry and fear. I am amazed though, through it all you had Hope. You are a truly phenomenal woman and I am so, so thankful that I had the chance to get to know you – through your blog. God Bless you and your family.ReplyCancel

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  • January 7, 2012 - 3:10 pm

    Anonymous - Cora’s story, wow where do I even begin. As I wipe away the tears from my face and try and rub the goosbumps off my arm, I have an enoruous amount of respect for you and your family. I know, “I’m sorry for your loss” cant begin to show you how each one of these readers feel about your story. This story will remind me to never take for granate the little things, or the most important things, for grante. Thank you for sharing your story.ReplyCancel

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  • February 24, 2012 - 9:02 am

    Anonymous - I happened upon your blog via Pinteredt because I liked your valentine party idea. I just read your story about Cora and I wanted to tell you how much your story touched me. Your faithfulness is a testiment to the power of Jesus in our everyday lives. Thank you for sharing and I hope you are filled with His peace as you look forward to seeing her again one day!ReplyCancel

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  • March 5, 2012 - 8:27 am

    Tanya - I also found your blog through pinterest. Thanks for sharing your story. I feel inspired by your strength and faith.ReplyCancel

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  • March 8, 2012 - 5:38 pm

    Latrice Nicole - And where would be without a God Who loves us, grieves with us, mourns for us, and can comfort us like only He can? I am so so sorry for the loss of your beautiful, precious girl and for the deep deep pain that can only truly be healed when you meet with your Savior face to face. Thank you for being willing to share your story.ReplyCancel

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sick

Ear infection number three.  My baby is sick AGAIN.  She is so sad.  We had a rough weekend.  Especially the nights.  She would wake up screaming and just want you to stand and hold her (not sit and hold her).  Today has been much better.  I am praying that this is the last ear infection so that happy Cora can come back!

On top of the ear infections, Cora is also getting her two top teeth.  Poor baby.  Soon she will have some new pearly whites to add to this toothy grin.

We have been giving Cora LONG baths in the evenings.  They always make her happy.  I know she is too big for the sink, but our bathtub is “sick” too.  You can only turn the cold water on.  Fixing that is on the to-do list.  Cora doesn’t seem to mind.  She loves when daddy gives her baths and sprays her with the sprayer.  One night I was giving her a bath and she kept reaching for the sprayer and saying da-da.  It was so cute.  It was like she was saying come-on mom, dad’s baths are way more fun!
I love this picture.  I can just hear her:  Go away mom.  Can’t you see I am busy taking a bath.
And this is a picture of the laundry I let pile up over Christmas.  When I went to do my first load I found out that our washing machine is “sick” too.  Actually, it is probably a goner.  We think the motor is dead.  So sad.  The funny thing is that our washing machine is only four years old and our dryer (which was given to us) is ancient and still plugging away.  I hauled all of this laundry over to my mom’s house.  She was kind enough to help me get it all done.  Thanks mom!
Hopefully this is the end of the “sickness” at our house!
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