What My Daughter’s Illness Has Taught Me About Fatherhood
My name is Eric, and I’m a member of the FedEx flight crew team. I’m fortunate to have an amazing job flying precious things across oceans, connecting people and possibilities all over the world. It’s a wonderful job…But without a doubt, my most important job is being a father.
My kids, Allie and Zach simply amaze me every single day.
Recently, my daughter, 15 year old Allie, was diagnosed with a form of brain tumor called anaplastic ependymoma. As shaken as we were by the diagnosis, Allie has been a rock. The wonderful folks at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital have cared her for as she fought through major surgery, radiation therapy, and difficult treatments.
It’s been more than a year now, and she’s doing great, in many ways living the life of a normal teenager, spending time with friends, pursuing a passion for photography, and is even a member of her high school’s dance team.
Being a dad to Zach and Allie has taught me lots of things.
As a parent, our main goal is to protect our children from the day they are born. However, when your child is diagnosed with cancer, you feel so powerless and helpless.
But from Allie’s experience I have learned that this makes you as strong as you have to be because there really is no other choice. Everyone has eternal strength, and you may not think it is there until the moment arises you have to have it.
Our Allie is so strong and she barely sheds tears or questions why she had to be the one to have cancer. People are definitely stronger than you think.
A remarkable aspect about being a father is seeing what your kids are capable of; kids are capable of things you cannot even imagine. I can barely even draw a stick figure, but Allie recently sold the first painting she ever created in a Make-a-Wish auction for $4,000!
I’ve learned that as parents, we can only do our best – you will not always have all the answers. Not everything will be perfect at times, but if we follow our instinct to love our children, the answers will come.
Note: Every year, FedEx Express names a Cessna Caravan plane in honor of a FedEx team member’s child who is a patient at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. At this year’s tournament, the aircraft was named after Allie.