Guest Blog: “Keep Smiling, Beautiful”

2018-04-13T18:15:48+00:00April 13th, 2018|3 Comments

Hey, how are ya?!

I am very excited to introduce you all to my next guest blogger, Griffin Smith. Griffin writes about the wonderful life of his younger sister, Chelsea, who lost her battle with cancer in January 2017. I grew up with the Smith Family and they are all amazing people. Chelsea had the power to light up every room she went into with her beautiful smile and her charming personality and I consider myself lucky to have known her. Part of her legacy lives on through a race the Smith family hosts. To learn more about the race and possibly donate to this site, where all of the proceeds will go to the Dana Farber HCC Research, go to the 2nd Annual Chelsea’s Run; “Keep Smiling, Beautiful” page on Facebook. Now, it is my pleasure to introduce you to Griffin!

Guest blog:

Hello everyone. My name is Griffin smith and I was asked to write about the most important and influential person I have ever met, my sister Chelsea.

Before I get lost in how amazing my sister was I really want to thank Joey for thinking of me as a guest blogger. Anyone who knows Joey recognizes his innate ability to give people hope and positivity to all aspects of life.

This positive outlook is something to be admired and emulated- and I consider myself lucky to be friends with him and his family.
For anyone who doesn’t know my sister Chelsea she was born on April 17th 1990 and died on January 2nd 2017. She battled cancer and liver disease for 26 years and although her life was cut far too short the impact she made on people she met throughout her complex life will be remembered and felt forever.

I could write a book about the hundreds of obstacles that Chelsea endured over the course her life; how she beat cancer, survived a complicated liver transplant, many meetings with doctors in the “special room” to tell us there was nothing more they could do, not to mention the many experimental treatments that would go on to save not only her but other children’s lives.  Her successes defined new treatments for children who followed her and in turn saved more lives than any of us could count. Doctors and nurses would show up to her room just to meet her. They would say “She’s the one that survived the impossible”. Instead, I am going to write about how in my mind she was a hero.

Chelsea was the definition of the words strength, resiliency, and courage and she displayed this in and out of the hospital.

She cared more about her family and friends than she did herself. If you asked her to describe her perfect day it would be the same answer every time. “I want to go to the beach and be with my parents, friends, brothers, and nieces.”

Chelsea Leigh Smith was the glue that held our family together and without her I wouldn’t be the person I am today. Chelsea taught me about patience, strength and compassion and above all else to laugh! Chelsea’s sense of humor was infectious. Even during the most difficult times when she was being poked and prodded, undergoing procedure after procedure she would look up at me and crack a joke about how I would cry if they put tubes and IVs all over my body. ( She was right, I got an IV when I was sick one time and I almost cried, ok I did cry, but only a little bit!)

I didn’t even realize what she was doing but every single day she was single handedly making my family stronger. She was teaching us to not “sweat the small stuff”. We focused on each other and making sure we were spending every possible second we had laughing, crying, and loving each other, because in all honesty we didn’t know if it would be our last.

Chelsea demanded that this philosophy of living life to the fullest be ingrained in our everyday lives and it is something I will have forever.

Those places that poked and prodded her was Children’s Hospital and Dana Farber, our second home and family. I can honestly say that these institutions kept her alive longer than any expert or medical professional could have expected.  The doctors and nurses are the best in the world and without them this blog would have been written 25 years ago and not today. The doctors gave us more time than we could have ever imagined, and although Chelsea is not with us anymore the lasting positive impact she made on the people she came into contact with cannot be quantified into words.

Chelsea’s “Keep Smiling beautiful” 5k is not only a celebration of her amazing  life but it is a charity race being held for Dana Farber Cancer Institute to specifically fund research helping to find a cure for the cancer that cut her life far too short.  Chelsea’s cancer was called Hepatocellular Carcinoma and although rare in adolescents it is a cancer that does not receive the attention and research funding it deserves, so please come out on April 21st and celebrate the most amazing woman I have and will ever meet!

2nd Annual Chelsea’s Run; “Keep Smiling, Beautiful” page on Facebook.

One Love,

Griffin and Joey

3 Comments

  1. “Grandma” Judi Cunningham April 14, 2018 at 1:06 am - Reply

    Thank you, Joey, for allowing Griffin to tell us about his wonderful sister, Chelsea. Griffin, your writing is beautiful and inspirational, and we thank you for allowing us to share in your wonderful memories.

    And, Joey, you never cease to amaze us, the followers of your blog, who feel we are your friends.

    Thank you, Joey and Griffin.

    Sending God’s blessings and much love,

  2. Jacqueline Quill April 14, 2018 at 3:59 am - Reply

    The truest testament of Chelsea words could ever reach. One love, Griff. We’ll see you at the finish line! (and Joey keep the great reads coming! Hats off to you both)

  3. Sarah DeCarolis April 15, 2018 at 8:16 pm - Reply

    I am thrilled to read this latest story. Griffin was a student in my Grade 1 class many years ago at St. Joseph’s School in Fitchburg. I know his family and I remember celebrating at their home when his sister was doing well. I was also the first grade teacher of Lauren Donfro many years ago. The fact that these two wonderful children have been your guest bloggers makes he very happy and proud. They have both become such well spoken and caring adults. I find all of your stories enlightening. Keep up the great work!
    Sarah DeCarolis

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