Where It All Started
My name is LesLee Hacker. I am the mother to two kids, Jonathan 17 and Lauren 14. I have been married for 28 years and have had a fairly adventurous life as a military wife and mom to two active kids. It seemed our life was following the average path of working and raising kids until on 12/12/12 my daughter, then 10 years old was diagnosed with Acute Myelocytic Leukemia. She walked into the hospital on December 11th of that year and then after fighting through harsh chemotherapy and intense illnesses finally left the hospital in remission on June 4, 2013.
We spent the next 2 1/2 years building our life again, with many new lessons and different priorities. We learned to find joy in every moment we could. We faced some problems and grew tighter as a family. We are still trying to figure it all out.
I am writing this blog to share out stories, the resources we use to fight Lauren’s cancer, and to draw more attention to the plight of children and families battling leukemia. Our family shared Lauren’s story on her Caringbridge website. We were surprised to receive letters from so many other families dealing with pediatric cancer or their own struggles. Lauren’s sweet smile and her fighting spirit inspired so many people. Her story also brought many people to pray for her. Despite her suffering and her long, hard battle with leukemia, our family was able to share many happy experiences along the way, such as having Taylor Swift come visit and making such wonderful friends with hospital staff, the Creighton University volleyball players, and have a visit form her classmates on a snowy day making snow angels outside her window.
Unfortunately, Lauren’s leukemia relapsed and we are back fighting it once more. She will enter the hospital on April 13, 2016 to begin her fight again. We hope that we can spread awareness about pediatric cancer. We hope we can increase the number of people that have registered for bone marrow donation. We hope we can increase contributions to help wonderful organizations that have helped our family along the way like Make-A-Wish and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
But, our biggest hope is to continue the love coming Lauren’s way as she faces this brutal monster once again. We hope the prayers come flowing in and families pray together and prepare to be inspired by one little girl that has so much love and joy to give! Go, Lolo, Go!
About Call To Water
My whole life I have been drawn to water. It is my peace. Most of my dreams and the places I like to go involve water. My favorite place to be is in the mountains, but even there, I am drawn to the streams and the alpine mountain lakes. I went to high school in California and my sister lives on the Big Island of Hawaii. Therefore, my children have been drawn to the places that they grew up visiting. Even the pictures around our house of our vacations usually have the backdrop of some lake, ocean, or glacier behind us….except of course, the many Eiffel Tower pictures throughout our house. When Lauren was little, I took some pictures of the kids playing on a black sand beach in Hawaii where the “Honu” lay their eggs. For you non-Hawaiian types that means sea turtle or just turtle. They are a good omen. I felt so connected to Phil that day and had a great day with my family. I watched Lauren stand at the edge of the water for the longest time. The waves were crashing on rocks right next to her, but she was facing out where the water was coming in as calm as can be. She stood there, ever so gentle, and just took in the breeze and the scenery. Jonathan was hiking around on the rocks and tempting the waves. It made me think that I was watching their true nature appear. Jonathan likes to be taking on the world and challenging it. Lolo is the calm in the storm.
As a kid, I learned how to swim by being thrown in the Snake River in Idaho while my dad was fishing. He likes to say what an instinctively strong swimmer I was. I am surprised it didn’t make me terrified of the water. Quite the opposite, actually. I swam on a swimteam growing up. I trained as a lifeguard. During lifeguard training, I remember the test where they make you save a pretend “drowning” person. The instructor fought you by grabbing your neck, your hair. It was a fight to the finish. The interesting thing is that our instinct to survive is so strong that when you are drowning and someone comes out to save you, you often take them down to climb up over them to breathe the air. In addition, when you get caught in a big wave or a current in the ocean, it is terrifying and confusing. The harder you fight, the more you end up in trouble. You exhaust yourself and sometimes end up being taken out by a riptide. It is opposite of your nature, to relax and let the wave take you for a while. You only begin to swim again when you aren’t fighting against the waves. This is Lolo’s instinctive nature. It isn’t mine. I am more like Jonathan. That is why he and I are always butting heads, but he is also way more clever and creative than me and has found ways like his music to challenge his nature.
When Lauren was first diagnosed with cancer on 12/12/12. It was my nature to fight against the current. It was the most terrifying experience I have ever had. All I wanted to do was save my child, but I was helpless. Pretty soon, I exhausted myself and started learning from her, my steady and wonderful husband, and my mentor Father Weeder. I learned to find the calm in the storm. I also found my faith in a way that I had never experienced before. “Call to Water” has so many meanings. Of course, it is also symbolic of baptism and finding true faith. Sometimes finding the calm in the storm requires true faith. Faith is a profound experience in trust. This website is dedicated to that trust. It is also calling you to share Lauren’s journey, her call to remain calm in the storm, and trust in God that through love and faith, she will be ok and we will all be changed by this process, for the better. Please, share out website with anyone that might be interested in her story.