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Time files

Time files. Not just when your having fun, but all the time. Three short years ago Katrina, Armando and I were facing the single biggest challenge a young family could ever face. Our youngest, Lauren, was about 4 months into chemotherapy. We had been cooped up almost the whole time in our house to protect Lauren’s compromised immune system. We weren’t the only ones, however, there were dozens of families going through the same exact thing we were.

With all the love and support we were receiving, we quickly realized that we wanted to do something to help families just like ours. We founded LivFree three years ago today with the goal to help 100 families in Connecticut take a break from cancer and chemo and just enjoy being a family, the way they did before cancer.

Three years, 109 families, hundreds of smiles, dozens of broken hearts, memories made, thousands of supporters, fun events and more to come. Three years has flown by some of it fun, some of it painful but all of it impactful. Thank you all for your continued support!

#livfree #fun #cancerisntwinningoverhere #pediatriccancer #childhoodcancer#cancerawareness #cancer #cancersucks #family #familytime #events#helpothers #smile #oncology #chemotherapy #chemo #health #charity#givingback #leukemia #survivor #nonprofit #awareness #fighter#connecticut #strong #strength

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Follow-up


Last week Lauren had to have an echocardiogram and a bone density scan. Both these tests are to measure the potential effects of chemo therapy on her small body. It’s such a conundrum, the chemo therapy that saved her life and eradicated the cancer had wreaked havoc on her body. Hopefully the long term effects won’t be that tough on her..

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National Sibling Day

When a child has cancer it affects the whole family. The sibling can have it pretty hard sometimes as attention is now focused on the sick child. Everything revolves around doctors visits and treatments. Today we celebrate #nationalsiblingday by letting the siblings know how important at they are to all of us. 
#livfree #fun #cancerisntwinningoverhere #pediatriccancer#childhoodcancer #cancerawareness #cancer #cancersucks #family#familytime #events #helpothers #smile #oncology #chemotherapy#chemo #health #charity #givingback #leukemia #survivor #nonprofit#awareness #fighter

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Remission Weekend Day 2!

We had an incredible weekend celebrating Lauren’s fourth year in remission from cancer. As a family, we filled it with non-stop fun. Today we woke up to beautiful views of the Statue of Liberty. We ate cookies and milk for breakfast before we headed out to the ferry to bring us to Liberty Island. Once there, we battled the cold to take in the awesome views of Lady Liberty and the New York skyline. We hopped back on the boat and headed to Ellis Island. Once we got back to Manhattan, we made sure to stop at one more park before we headed back to Connecticut. The trip ended with our remission tradition of an early dinner at Mecha and dessert at Saugatuck Sweets.

We’ve had so much support from so many people over the years, thank you all. Cancer has taught us a few things. Mostly that life is so fragile and so fast so be sure to do what you love and be with who you love.

#livfree #fun #cancerisntwinningoverhere #pediatriccancer #childhoodcancer #cancerawareness #cancer #cancersucks #family #familytime #events #helpothers #smile #oncology #chemotherapy #chemo #health #charity #givingback #leukemia #survivor #nonprofit #CT #connecticut

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Remission Weekend Day 1!

Our first day of Lauren’s remission weekend was fun filed. We started off with “bring your Daddy to dance day”. Lauren was able to show off her newly learned dance skills and had her Dad participate as well (he nearly threw his back out trying to pirouette 🤣). Next we were off to New York City. We checked into The Wagner Hotel as they have been great to LivFree families in the past. We have amazing views and prime location. For the rest of the day we hopped from playground to playground to playground to playground. We finished the night off with pizza and cookies. Great way to start celebrating Lauren’s 4th year with no sign of cancer.

#livfree #fun #cancerisntwinningoverhere #pediatriccancer #childhoodcancer #cancerawareness #cancer #cancersucks #family #familytime #events #helpothers #smile #oncology #chemotherapy #chemo #health #charity #givingback #leukemia #survivor #nonprofit #CT #connecticut

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Marvel Universe Live!

We’d like to send a HUGE THANK YOU to our friends at Nordic Stove & Fireplace Center, Inc. for their donation of tickets to see Marvel Universe Live! Four LivFree families were able to head down to Webster Bank arena and catch the show. By the smiles, we know they had a blast!!

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Stick It to Cancer Weekend

Yesterday was extra special for us. The Bridgeport Sound Tigers wore gold jerseys and raised over $18,000 to support childhood cancer awareness with their "stick it to cancer" weekend. They gave portions of ticket sales and held fundraisers throughout the game to raise fund for us and two other great organizations, Ryan's Rebels and Infinite Love for Kids Fighting Cancer. There are a couple special moments I would like to touch on:

1) The Sound tigers are a great organization to work with and they have helped us so much with spreading our message about pediatric cancer. They also went above and beyond with making the children affected by cancer feel special and raised a huge amount of money that will directly help those in need. Tim Foley, thank you so much. your impact on these kids with your vision and diligence is greatly appreciated.

2) Three dads that have had their kids be directly affected by pediatric cancer were able to come together with their respective organizations and produce some really great ideas and significantly push forward our missions of how we each battle childhood cancer. Mike and Jim, it was truly an honor to work with you and get to know you both better. What we did is VERY special, thank you for that.

3) Thank you to all of the people that came out to the game and supported us. Without you all, we couldn't help those in need.

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Four Years Ago Today

Four years ago, on this day, Katrina and I were sat down in a small room with oncologists and a social worker. We weren’t prepared for what was coming. I mean, how can you be prepared for your world to be shattered?

“Your daughter has cancer” or something of the sort was said. I don’t quite remember the exact words because everything stopped. That punch to the gut is a feeling we can NEVER forget, nor do we want to.

As fate would have it, Lauren had a clinic appointment today on the anniversary of her diagnosis. Our anxiety about the results seemed to be a bit higher today but not for Lauren. This is so matter of fact to her which leaves us both sad and proud. Her blood work came back clear and we feel relief, until the next visit....

#livfree #fun #cancerisntwinningoverhere #pediatriccancer #childhoodcancer #cancerawareness #cancer #cancersucks #family #familytime #events #helpothers #smile #oncology #chemotherapy #chemo #health #charity #givingback #leukemia #survivor #nonprofit

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TBT Selfie

I was scrolling through my phone and came across this selfie. It’s a reminder of how crazy our life was when Lauren was getting treatment for her cancer. It’s so hard to imagine a 3 year old taking a selfie while laying in a hospital bed because of cancer, but it’s a reality for some. This is why we do what we do. #livfree #fun #tbt #cancerisntwinningoverhere #pediatriccancer #childhoodcancer #cancerawareness #cancer #cancersucks #family #familytime #events #helpothers #smile #oncology #chemotherapy #chemo #health #charity #givingback #leukemia #survivor #nonprofit

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STAR 99.9 Interview

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Our interview from STAR 99.9 FM. A huge thank you to Anna & Raven for having us. Two years ago we introduced LivFree on their show. We expressed our goal of helping 100 families and now we are about to hit that goal! Give it a quick listen.


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Childhood Cancer and Family Life

One of the toughest challenges of childhood cancer is navigating your family life. The doctors visits, the sickness, the medicine and stress changes the dynamic drastically. This is why we put so much emphasis on providing a fun experience for everyone in the family. The siblings don’t have the diagnosis but they definitely live with it. #cancerisntwinningoverhere #pediatriccancer#childhoodcancer #cancerawareness #cancer#cancersucks #family #familytime #events#helpothers #smile #oncology #chemotherapy#chemo #health #charity #givingback #leukemia#survivor #nonprofit

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So Very Thankful!

We are so very thankful for all of your support over the last couple of years. We are thankful that we’ve been able to provide family fun time to 97 families that are fighting pediatric cancer. We are thankful that we’ve been put on a path to make a lasting impact to those that need it most. Lastly, we are thankful for the constant reminders of strength that these families show us everyday. 

#livfree #fun #cancerisntwinningoverhere#pediatriccancer #childhoodcancer#cancerawareness #cancer #cancersucks #family#familytime #events #helpothers #smile #oncology#chemotherapy #chemo #health #charity#givingback #leukemia #survivor #nonprofit

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Thank You Make-A-Wish!

Two weeks ago we celebrated Lauren’s 5th birthday at Disney world thanks to the great people at Make-A-Wish Connecticut and Give kids the world. We visited 9 parks in 6 days and walked over 70 miles. I was apprehensive in the beginning about her using her wish to go to Disney. After experiencing it I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

One moment in particular will be forever ingrained in my memory. Lauren was able to receive a princess makeover at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. There were dozens of people packed into this room, kids and parents were whirling around getting done up. You could smell the food cooking at Cinderella’s Castle. When it was her turn, Lauren took a seat in the far corner to be transformed into a princess. As the stylist painted her nails and braided her hair, Lauren sat and the most beautiful smile beamed across her face. She lit the room. I’ve seen Lauren happy, but not like this. I’ve always called her princess but this day she WAS a princess.

All four us were touched by the magic of Disney. Words cannot explain how important it was for all of us the share that experience, together.

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Lauren's 5th Birthday!


Birthdays are celebrated to symbolize great milestones. For our family birthdays haven’t really been celebrated, they have been reminders; how much we’ve been through, how tough we’ve been and how lucky we are to have another. Today, Lauren’s 5th birthday, is different. Today we will celebrate BIG!

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Power Racing Series at World Maker Faire

Our supporters are racing in this year’s Maker Faire. They have built a custom electric racer and chose to represent LivFree! They are doing a great job as they place 2nd in their second race. We are so happy they are doing so well and representing LivFree on Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month!!!

Check out our Facebook page for videos!

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Movie Night 2018

Another great Movie Night event in the books! We thank the hundreds of people that came out to enjoy a quality family day. Again, we wouldn’t be able to pull it off without our sponsors! The town of Trumbull was very supportive especially when we needed a rain date. The whole LivFree team, especially Kathy Harvey, who helped secure great relationships with our sponsors. The real unsung heroes were the face painters, these ladies worked from start to finish non-stop. DJ Larry was great all day long as well. To Bela Sera and The Green Grunion, thank you sincerely for pulling this off in such short notice. 

Be sure to keep checking in with us for updates on event and also how we are doing with assisting families. We definitely have some really cool things coming up! 

Again, thank you all so much.

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Dexter

Today I wanted a Daddy day with the kids so I decided to take them to the movies. We got there a little early so we sat in an empty theatre just the three of us, me in the middle, laughing and joking. Lauren looked at me and out of nowhere she said to me “daddy, can Dexter some back from Heaven?” Dexter was our dog and Lauren and Armando’s “big brother”. We had to put him down last year and the kids took it pretty hard.

I explained that once you’re in Heaven you don’t come back. I was caught off guard and wasn’t sure how to respond. I usually give Katrina the look and she handles these questions... I wasn’t prepared for what came next.

“I almost went to heaven, right Daddy? When I had cancer? But I beat it up so I don’t have to go to heaven right now, right?”

Crushed. I looked her in the eye and said that’s right baby, no heaven for you just yet. I had no idea what to say. No idea how to even approach it. My heart was crushed. We always knew what could have happened with her cancer. Hearing it from her though, it broke my heart and reminded me just how lucky we are to have her, how very lucky I was to be able to be in a movie with her and her brother sharing laughs and popcorn. Luckily the lights dimmed and they didn’t have to see my tears. Tears of sadness, joy, anger, gratefulness. All rolled into one.

#livfree #fun #cancerisntwinningoverhere #pediatriccancer#childhoodcancer #cancerawareness #cancer #cancersucks #family#familytime #events #helpothers #smile #oncology #chemotherapy#chemo #health #charity #givingback #leukemia #survivor#nonprofit

(She loved her Dexter and he loved her even more)

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She "Got This"

 

Lauren had her check-up today to make sure her blood work was clear. She is 14 months removed from her chemotherapy so we have blood work every two months. It never gets easier for Katrina and I as our anxiety goes through the roof. But for Lauren it’s very matter of fact. Today, for the first time in 3.5 years she sat all by herself to get her finger pricked. She usually always sat in daddy’s lap while I held her tight. Seeing her do it by herself made me proud but also made me realize that she “got this”.

 #livfree #fun#cancerisntwinningoverhere #pediatriccancer #childhoodcancer#cancerawareness #cancer #cancersucks #family #familytime#events #helpothers #smile #oncology #chemotherapy #chemo#health #charity #givingback #leukemia #survivor #nonprofit

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