My name is Jeff Podojil, Emerson’s father and co-founder of The Smasherson Foundation with my wife and Emerson’s mother, Celeste. I wanted to personally update you on the latest happenings at Smasherson and the difference you are making. Your impact is so much greater than you realize.
The SMASH-IT Campaign
I am blown away to share that through your efforts, we raised $28,759 for The Smasherson Foundation. The month of February is always a tough one – another milestone without our little angel. This year, however, we felt the love and warmth of your generosity and amazingly creative videos honoring Emerson, all while funding critical research and support for families faced with a brutal disease. Every day, we would log on to social media to see you dressed in purple, with goofy faces, smashing eggs, pies, and even priceless family heirlooms. It was a powerful reminder that Emerson, our family, and kids everywhere are in your hearts.
I received a letter from a family last week who said their 4-year-old daughter never would have made it through her 30 radiation treatments without the daily gifts from our radiation calendar program.
A Time for Gratitude
It is through moments like this I have learned to stop, reflect, and give thanks for the never-ending love of our Smasherson community. It is easy to get swept up in our own personal grief and sadness that the loss of Emerson has left on our lives; easy to say “why us?” Certainly, I’ve had my share of those moments. Through time, however, I have tried to channel that energy to supporting Emerson’s amazing life and legacy. As Celeste has said many times; as a parent who has a child in heaven, we are constantly faced with the fear that people will forget, that they will forget her smile, her boundless energy, and incomparable wit and humor. I now know it will never happen. You will not let it happen. You share stories we have faded from our memories. You take on challenges like the SMASH-IT campaign. Your energy and willingness to say “YES” is humbling, yet not surprising. You are our people.
There Is More To Do
I recently read in 10 years researchers will have an effective treatment for DIPG, a devastating, inoperable brain tumor that shares the exact mutation of Emerson’s illness. This is an amazing statement given the lack of progress against this disease since it was first discovered in the early 1920s. I have no idea if it will come to fruition, but the fact we are even talking about it is remarkable and would never be possible without the funding of individual foundations like Smasherson. We have all heard the statistic; the National Cancer Institute (NCI) only allocates 4% of all research dollars to pediatric cancer. 4%! The result of this is simple, the NCI is not going to cure this disease, we are. Your generosity will be the catalyst that is going to get us there.
Thank you for your videos. Thank you for your donations. Thank you for your love. Most of all, thank you for keeping Emerson in your hearts.