As a New Year begins, I give thanks to the year that has ended and the opportunities that lie ahead. The close of a year brings both relief, reflection, and review for goals met, hurdles overcome, and successes celebrated. G9 set a goal of $50,000 for the year-end giving campaign, and I can happily report that the goal was not only met but exceeded. I am honored by and grateful to the thoughtful donors who, with many choices and requests for support, chose G9.

However, as G9 stamps this effort a success, we set our sights and hopes for 2019 on new objectives, higher aims, and greater progress. Each goal and each year represent a milestone and an opportunity on a long and difficult journey to fund the Early Phase Clinical Trials that might one day provide cures for every child, everywhere facing or battling a cancer diagnosis.

When considering this goal, the true target of treatments to ensure surviving and thriving, the descriptors overwhelmed and wearied are more apt to come to mind for there is much to do. It would be easy to sit in this place, paralyzed by the weight of it all and wondering where to start, until I recall not only what I am fighting for, but also who.

Last week, I attended the funeral of another brave little boy who found his ultimate cure in Heaven. In the midst of the ugliness of this horrible disease, Luka was a bright and positive light, a champion of hope and heroism. As I watched his battle-weary parents greeting well-wishers, a million thoughts danced in my brain. Of course, my sweet Jack was close to the surface, but a flood of other faces mingled alongside him . . . countless brave and beautiful children . . . anguished parents, family, and friends . . . dedicated doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals who work tirelessly to provide comfort and hope. An immeasurable number of people . . . all impacted in some way by this monster we call cancer.

So, while I am filled with humble thankfulness for a milestone reached, I am reminded that gratitude cannot equate with contentment. Rather, it must call forth other virtues such as perseverance, fortitude, responsibility, and service, putting feet to the fight and guiding all of us onward in the battle, until we reach our ultimate goal.