Tuesday, February 15, 2011

a request.

My college graduation party, May 2009.

The first memories I have of actually hanging out with Emily are from when her family hosted Christmas caroling when I was still a pre-teen. She was a few years younger than me – three to be exact – but I remember hanging with her and her friend as we walked through our neighborhood in chilly weather.

It wasn’t until a couple years later that we started really hanging out. I spent a lot of time one summer playing with the younger kids down the street, and since we were closest in age, we began to bond. Afternoon games of Spud turned into movie nights, pool parties, invites to family events and church gatherings, sleepovers, trips to the mall, and everything in between.

For a while, she was one of my best friends. We’d do our makeup together, watch old home videos, bond over dancing, and spend hours on the internet. I ate ice cream out of her fridge whenever I wanted and essentially became a part of her family. Since she lived down the street, I knew her older sisters from elementary school when they were my classroom patrols and her parents from just living in the neighborhood.

Being crazy on New Year's Eve 2005.

We celebrated lots of things together – New Year’s Eve 2005, her eighth grade dance, dance recitals, her sweet 16, and a handful of graduations. We shared anything and everything because we were so comfortable with each other. She ended up being a sister to me.

Since going off to college, I haven’t spent a lot of time with her. We still chat occasionally and when we do see each other, it all falls back into place. I joined her in October to celebrate her twenty-first birthday, where I got to meet her new niece and catch up with the people I consider my second family.

The reason I’m telling you this story is because she struggles with quite a few health issues and will be going into surgery tomorrow to try to help her feel better. She was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis (amongst other things) at an early age and, in the past few years, her ability to breathe well has been diminishing. She spends a lot of her time at home and isn’t able to do simple things like go to work or take classes.

Birthday girl! At her Sweet 16.

Despite her challenges in life, Emily is one of the most positive, bright and cheerful people I know. If you met her on the street, you would never know all that she goes through on a daily basis. She has an unshakable faith and an optimistic outlook on life. She is a social butterfly, talking to any and everyone and taking an interest in whatever you have to say. But she’s also a girl who just wants to grow up and live her life, like everyone else.

They’re hoping that the surgery tomorrow will help her breathe better, but there are no promises. All I'm asking is that you keep her in your thoughts and prayers tomorrow so that she has lots of good vibes sent her way and that God watches over her. I don’t normally ask for things like this, but I felt compelled - like I said, she’s like a sister to me and I want only the best for her.

If you'd like to do a little more, feel free to donate to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation by going here.