Once a year I write a note like this one. I dread it. Using my daughter’s death to raise money seems so wrong. And I look forward to this note, because I get to talk about her again. And there is little a parent likes more than talking about their kids.
Parker Caldara died just days before her first birthday of a rare and cruel cancer. She was our only child at the time. To see my only child suffer knowing there was nothing, nothing I could do, well, I never felt so small. Every instinct as a parent is to do all it takes to stop the pain and any threat of death to your child. When all I could do was hold her while she cried, I felt like a failure as a father.
The people of Children’s Hospital did all they could. They are wildly brave people. They choose to see this type of hell daily. They choose to help children even knowing there are many times they can only comfort children, like Parker, without any option to save them.
I could never sign up for that kind of duty. I could never do what they do.
After Parker died I gave great thought to joining her. After all, a daddy’s job is to look after his little one, to be with her, even if she isn’t on this earth.
Parker’s little sister Piper came along to save me. She’ll never really understand the power of her existence.
So, I was thrilled when Piper was going to have a little sibling of her own, this time a boy.
I thought my connection with Children’s was in the past, never needing to be relived. Then my son Chance was born with Down Syndrome. Back to that place we went – 14 operations big and small, endless tests and therapies. Back to the brave, talented people I never wanted to see again.
Chance is one of the three greatest gifts I have ever received. And thanks in great part to Children’s Hospital, so far I have been able to keep him. And I hope to keep him a long, long time.
So my ask that you donate to Team Parker is a selfish one. It celebrates and remembers the girl I lost and it helps me keep the little man who means so much to me.
Team Parker is made up of spandex-clad Independence staffers and friends who peddle their bikes this weekend in the Courage Classic, Children’s Hospital big fundraiser. Over the years Team Parker has raised well over $100,000 for Children’s.
What a way to remember Parker and honor Chance.
What a way to honor all those like Parker, who could not be saved. What a way to honor all those like Chance who can be saved.
Please be part of this. Someday there could be a Parker in your life. There could be a Chance. And you’ll be grateful for every penny you give today. And grateful for the brave people you have supported.
And from everyone who loves Parker, Piper, and Chance, and all the kids like them, thank you so very much.