“She made broken look beautiful and strong look invincible. She walked with the universe on her shoulders and made it look like a pair of wings.”

My mother…the strongest person I know! She stood by our side through every frightening moment. If she were worried, I never knew. She is always full of hope. She never quits and somehow she knows the answers to everything. Mom, we could never thank you enough for what you have done, and still do each day, to make this nightmare livable. You selflessly give yourself, your time and your life to be with us when we need you. With each challenging day, we did manage to laugh…the purple couch and your diet ginger ales may someday be memories we smile about. There were the big decisions…which bedding should we put on Luke’s bed? What should we eat?…not another hoagie! Did you make it to the washing machine first? Now, I can giggle at the sound of my air mattress being blown up and then deflating in the middle of the night… and how many times did we page the nurse because “We are beeping!” “Maniac Mom,” "Grandma Marinara” and “Super Luke” will always be a perfect team!

You make an outstanding Darth Vader!…You are a teacher, an artist, an organizer, a playmate, a creator, a helper, a paper plane maker, a basketball shooter, an ice-cream fetcher and most definitely a HERO to Luke and to me. “Having a place to go is home. Having someone to love is family. Having both is a blessing.” Happy Mother’s Day every day!

We are cautiously optimistic. For the first time, we feel like we are on the right road. “Luke’s labs were amazing this week!” (...from his nurse). Each day that goes by we see him getting stronger. We see him smiling and playing again and we feel him coming back to us. We thank God for our miracle and continue to pray that the worst of Luke’s fight is over. The next 6 months to a year are critical. We pray every day that Luke holds his new graft and that he stays healthy in the process.

Friends of Karen is a more than an organization. They are that missing piece to this puzzle. Friends of Karen continues to be there to help us. Rhonda (our Friends of Karen social worker) and John speak often about bills. Rhonda is a calming voice when the world feels like it is caving in. Melissa (Friends of Karen child life specialist) is currently working with Luke again. This time on his post-transplant emotions. This is so important because he has so much change in his world. We are very lucky to have them and the support of this extraordinary organization.