The opZOmism and brAvery Story
Life often presents challenges for which there is no perfect preparation. In August of 2011, our family faced just such a challenge. Zoe, our daughter and Avery’s twin sister, was diagnosed with brain cancer. At 6:00am on September 2, our lives came to a brief yet abrupt halt as we digested the news that Zoe had a brain tumor. She would need surgery, she would need chemotherapy, she would need radiation, and she would need long term physical therapy and occupational therapy. So much to think about with Zoe’s care. So much to think about to keep Avery moving ahead as she started 5th grade. And, so much to think about as I took a sudden leave from my position as PTO President, Pop Warner cheerleading advisor, Special Olympics basketball coach, and Realtor. Yet as those first days passed I realized I had surrounded myself with such an amazing team of family, friends, co-workers, clients, neighbors, business affiliates over the years – I really didn’t have to think about how I was going to continue giving my buyers and sellers the best service possible. My Kensington Team had it covered. Avery got on that bus for the first day of school without Zoe and immediately felt comfortable as the bus driver, teachers, administrators, lunch ladies, and staff greeted her. Cheerleading and Special Olympics coaches kept those teams moving along without me. Our dogs were walked and my family at home was fed. Zoe was visited daily by friends and family making the trek into Boston. Avery was picked up and dropped off where ever she needed to go. Life carried on.
Zoe and I packed two bottles of water and a couple of bags of chips on the evening of September 1, 2011 and headed off to the Tufts Medical Center Emergency Room after cheerleading practice … 6 weeks later we came home. Was life the same as when we traveled up to Boston that night – no. Did I ever think I would be prepared to hear that my daughter had brain cancer – no. In an odd way, though, we had prepared. We had surrounded ourselves with amazing people over the years who stepped in, picked us up, and carried us along as we adjusted to the new challenges (and yes blessings) life would offer us.
So what is opZomism and bravery? The phrase evolved while we were still up in Boston those first few weeks. opZOmism represents Zoe’s outlook on life and brAvery represents Avery who was confronted with being the sibling of child diagnosed with a serious illness. Both are living life to their fullest potentials. And we could not be prouder as parents.
Community is huge to me. You just never know when you are going to need that support. I hope that each of you have the opportunity to connect and get involved. Giving, volunteering, being involved… it will always come back to you!