Almost Nine and Almost Free

January 9th, 2012 by Stephen Chance

In just a little while Patrick will celebrate his ninth birthday surrounded by family and adult friends, nurses and doctors in the comforting surroundings of CHOA where this journey began. There will be no cake or plastic toys or electronic gadgets or even Legos. The only gifts will be boundless love and peace. The girls are working on letters to read to him. He can hear us but can only utter a few words at a time. His cure is very near in time. He looks beautiful. He told us tonight that he is not scared. We are coping by focusing on the imminent cessation of pain, nausea, itching, finger sticks, port accesses, and nosebleeds as well as the anticipated victory over neuroblastoma. He will continue to live in our hearts and minds forever. His legacy will be love. The many children in our lives will perpetuate this way of life for generations. They have grown up in a community of love that has intensified over the last five and a half years. They are witnesses who will testify to what they have seen. They will love their children with more focus and treat each other with more kindness because you have shown them how.

We anticipate that he will pass away this week. It could be minutes, hours, or days away – but not weeks. We will stay in the hospital until he is free. We will have his body cremated. We will sprinkle some of his ashes in Lake Glenville where Norton Falls enters the lake because that is his favorite place to fish and we can see the water flow into the lake from our home. We plan to visit with you at Patterson’s Funeral Home one of the next two Fridays, then we will celebrate his life the next day at Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church near our home. Our spiritual counselors from Haygood will officiate, but we need the capacity of Glenn. We prefer a lighthearted, somewhat casual service that celebrates our son. Details will follow. We look forward to the hugs.

Stephen and Erin

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58 Responses to “Almost Nine and Almost Free”

  1. January 09, 2012 at 8:16 am, Renee Williamson said:

    All of the Williamson women are thinking of you and praying for you.

    Reply

  2. January 09, 2012 at 8:17 am, Steve Ellis said:

    I have been following the reports through friends here in Augusta, GA for quite a while. Just wanted to say I have you all in my prayers and how precious it must be to know that Jesus is planning his birthday party in Heaven and will welcome him home soon. God bless you all.

    Reply

  3. January 09, 2012 at 8:18 am, cindy summers said:

    I have never met your family but I have walked in your shoes. Your bravery during this long struggle has been inspiring. May you continue to find peace in your hearts knowing you have given Patrick all the love possible. He will be with each of you for your entire lives…
    God bless you all…

    Reply

  4. January 09, 2012 at 8:18 am, Russell A. Gray said:

    The Gray’s will have you all in our thoughts and prayers. Thankful that his pain and suffering will soon be over.

    Reply

  5. January 09, 2012 at 8:23 am, Katie McClain said:

    Dear Chance Family-

    I’ve only been following Patrick’s story for a short while now. You all have been in my prayers. I am saddened by today’s message but will keep Patrick and your family in my prayers for a peaceful transition. Sending you all love.

    <3

    Reply

  6. January 09, 2012 at 8:26 am, Kelly Terry said:

    My heart aches for you….God Bless All of You!
    With Love, Kelly
    (Mya’s Mom)

    Reply

  7. January 09, 2012 at 8:28 am, Amy Williams said:

    Sending love and prayers to your family. You are in our hearts.

    Reply

  8. January 09, 2012 at 8:28 am, Wendy and Sam Lupas said:

    Chance Family- We will be lifting your family up from the mountains of Cashiers and will always whisper sweet prayers as we pass Lake Glenville in memory of Patrick… what an absolutley AMAZING testimony of endurance, faith, and love Patrick and your family has shown the world. May God Bless you and keep you full of peace during this time- Knowing that Patrick will be dancing in heaven with our Lord and Saviour JESUS makes me smile. xoxo Lupas Family

    Reply

  9. January 09, 2012 at 8:34 am, Kathleen McCarthy said:

    Thank you, Patrick, Stephen and Erin, Kris and Don, and all of your family and friends for sharing your journey with us, inspiring us all to strive to be more than we are. You have touched our lives, and we are Blessed to have known you. Pain and fear and struggle all come to an end, but love lives on forever.
    My prayers are with you now and always…

    Reply

  10. January 09, 2012 at 8:35 am, Beverly Lambert said:

    Our God is sufficient and will keep you in the palm of his hand even while welcoming Patrick with open arms. We pray with thanksgiving for his life and legacy and for your comfort and peace. Thank you for sharing Patrick and your family’s journey. You have made us better by doing so. God bless and keep you.

    Reply

  11. January 09, 2012 at 8:44 am, John Power said:

    You have been heaven blessed and have so generoulsy shared that blessing with all of us through Patrick. God love you all for ever – you so richly deserve it.

    John Power (Ireland)

    Reply

  12. January 09, 2012 at 8:46 am, Jennifer Wilson said:

    Patrick will win the race and come in first. What a celebration there will be in Heaven! I am a teacher at EDS and Patrick has been in our prayers. Thank you for the touching story you have share with us and for letting us love Patrick.
    Jennifer Wilson

    Reply

  13. January 09, 2012 at 8:47 am, Sarah Neal said:

    I love you guys! I have been so very blessed to have you in my life. All of you have touched such a special place in my heart and in my life. Please know that my thoughts, prayers, and love are with you.

    Reply

  14. January 09, 2012 at 9:01 am, Miranda Hitti said:

    Thank you for letting us know. You are in my prayers.

    Reply

  15. January 09, 2012 at 9:06 am, Kym Smiley said:

    Erin and Stephen,

    We wish you nothing but love and peace in this time with Patrick and the girls. Your never-ending strength has taught us many lessons in life and love.

    Hugs and prayers,
    Kym, Brian, Katelynn, Lauren and Trenton Smiley

    Reply

  16. January 09, 2012 at 9:11 am, Nancy Carson said:

    Patrick and his story have been an inspiration to me. You are all in my prayers.
    Nancy Carson

    Reply

  17. January 09, 2012 at 9:12 am, Sandy Coolik said:

    I know of you only through Brennan but have been praying for you. I am praying now that our Lord will wrap His loving arms around you and give you strength and peace. Your witness is strong. I know that Jesus will come personally for Patrick and take him to heaven and heaven will be a better place after receiving your precious son. He will finally be CURED! Many prayers for all of you, Sandy Coolik (Columbus)

    Reply

  18. January 09, 2012 at 9:12 am, Pam Wilkins said:

    I have been praying for your family since being connected through a gift of a plant from a friend of your family. We lost our granddaughter at the age of 4 1/2 and she also was a patient at CHOA. They are amazing and they could probably tell you stories about Hannah with her many visits there. Your posts will spread the gospel for many to understand how awesome heavenly healing is. What a joy when we get there to see them again in a perfect state of health. I will continue to pray for you as you travel this tough road of a new normal for your family. God will bring him into the fold with the statement – “Well done my good and faithful servant” as well as you! Thank you for your posts to remind and inspire all who read them!
    Love in Christ!
    Pam Wilkins, Augusta, GA

    Reply

  19. January 09, 2012 at 9:21 am, Shannon Komm said:

    May the Lord keep you and hold you all through this time. Praying for strength and peace for you.

    Reply

  20. January 09, 2012 at 9:21 am, Jeff Johnson said:

    No amount of words or comments can explain what a parent feels during a time like this. However, Patrick is a Angel sent from the Lord. Patrick have brought many people together, including me. A chance to think about someone else other than yourself. Patrick, I do not even know you and you have motivated me to love more, to care more, to listen more and give myself away more. Thanks and let the peace of God that surpasses all understanding comfort you and your family. Peace be with you!

    Reply

  21. January 09, 2012 at 9:28 am, Andy Kilpatrick said:

    Stephen,

    You and your wonderful family have given us all the greatest lesson of love ever. You are the best parents Patrick could have ever had.

    Our love and prayers forever.

    Andy

    Reply

  22. January 09, 2012 at 9:32 am, Wendy Ansbro said:

    Stephen and Erin – I have followed your story for only a short while but have been so inspired by your family’s courage, faith and love. I pray for God’s peace to surround all of you now and in the days and weeks to come. Lake Glenville is a special place for our family as well and, even though we have never met, I know I will think of you and of Patrick when we see Norton Falls next summer.

    Wendy Ansbro

    Reply

  23. January 09, 2012 at 9:39 am, Sally Singletary said:

    Dear Chance Family,
    Your strength and peace at this time is an inspiration. While we grieve the imminent loss of Patrick, we celebrate the freedom and joy he will have in heaven. He will be embraced and loved in much the same way he was here on earth- but with no more pain. God bless your family during this time.

    Reply

  24. January 09, 2012 at 9:40 am, Mike Smith said:

    Your family and your son are in my thoughts and prayers.

    Reply

  25. January 09, 2012 at 9:41 am, Jones Lindgren said:

    Dear Precious Family,
    We do not know each other but I somehow became connected with Patrick through the site of Brennan Simkins. May God’s peace continue to warm your family, and especially Patrick as you await his healing day.

    Jones Lindgren

    Reply

  26. January 09, 2012 at 9:43 am, Jeanette Williamson said:

    I was awake during last night and prayed for Patrick and all of you. May our dear Lord wrap you in his arms of love and carry you these days.

    Reply

  27. January 09, 2012 at 9:57 am, Donna and Thomas Burnside said:

    Your walk with Patrick and with the Lord over the past few years has been an inspiration and a blessing. Thank you for sharing your beautiful journey with us. We are pouring out our hearts in prayer for you as God calls Patrick to receive his heavenly prize, to win the race. May the love of God and the peace of His indwelling Spirit surround you and equip you in the days ahead.

    Love and prayers,
    Donna and Thomas

    Reply

  28. January 09, 2012 at 9:58 am, Nancy Rostron said:

    Just this morning at breakfast Danny asked how Patrick was doing.
    He prays for him everyday.
    May God grant you all peace.

    You are all in my prayers,
    Nancy Lane Rostron

    Reply

  29. January 09, 2012 at 10:11 am, Abbey said:

    To the Chance Family –
    You have been an inspiration to all of us with the courage that you have shown through this difficult fight. You have an army of support behind you. You are in my prayers and thoughts. Be strong, I know you will!
    Abbey

    Reply

  30. January 09, 2012 at 10:12 am, Susan Todd said:

    I have been praying for Brennan Simpkins and became acquainted with Patrick and your family through the Press On website. I have been praying for Patrick and your family. I am saddened to hear his departure is soon. I know you and the girls will miss him very much. I pray you find great comfort knowing one day you will see him again and it will be for eternity because of what Jesus did at the cross for each of us. Will continue to keep you all in my daily prayers.

    Reply

  31. January 09, 2012 at 10:21 am, Milla Gibbs said:

    God bless you all!

    Reply

  32. January 09, 2012 at 10:22 am, Tricie Scholer said:

    Hugs to all of you from the Scholers in Augusta. Godspeed little Patrick; you are our angel.

    Reply

  33. January 09, 2012 at 11:09 am, Dianne Meinhardt said:

    Your strength and love is an inspiration to us all. You are in my thoughts and prayers daily. I will carry Patrick in my heart forever.
    Love and peace,
    Dianne Meinhardt

    Reply

  34. January 09, 2012 at 11:39 am, Marti Digby said:

    We are sending you love, hugs and endless prayers for replinishment of the strength you have given to so many. With love, Marti and Don Digby

    Reply

  35. January 09, 2012 at 11:47 am, Mamie Dye said:

    Stephen and Erin,

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family and with precious Patrick. I knew he would see his 9th birthday.

    Much Love,

    Mamie Dye

    Reply

  36. January 09, 2012 at 11:49 am, Carol & Don Grantham said:

    Dearest Stephen and Erin, your words inspire and comfort us. Our Father God knows they are reflections of your hearts submitted to Him.
    We all learn so much watching you and your dear family.
    In His love and ours, Carol & Don

    Reply

  37. January 09, 2012 at 12:31 pm, Leslie Hodges said:

    Dear Ones,
    I learned about Patrick today from my cousin Teresa and I am praying now for for him and for your family. May God’s loving arms hold each of you and give you the peace that passes all understanding.
    I have glioblastoma and have thought a great deal about children and their families who have to go through this experience. We have a wonderful volunteer organization in middle GA called Jay’s Hope which offers support for children with cancer and their families.

    Thank you for sharing Patrick’s story. You blessed me today with your strength and courage.

    Happy Birthday, Patrick

    Leslie

    Reply

  38. January 09, 2012 at 12:34 pm, Donna Rothgeb said:

    Stephen, Eri and Anne: We try to understand your feelings but none of us are really about to understand but do know that our thoughts and prayers continue throughout this really difficult time. Patrick has been so brave and has assured you that he is not scared. He seems to have prepared himself for the worst and no matter what he will be in the hands of God and the suffering will be no more. We send many prayers your way and wish Patrick a peaceful and restful week.

    Reply

  39. January 09, 2012 at 12:34 pm, Kriston Chandler said:

    With Tears I am so amazed at the peace I feel just reading this update. May you and your family rest in knowing how blessed you have been to have this beautiful boy in your life. He will live on forever in our hearts and in the children that find a cure because of his heroic journey.

    Reply

  40. January 09, 2012 at 12:49 pm, Sandy Daron said:

    I am soo sorry for what you are all going through. Patrick has fought for soo long!!

    I pray there will be peace and many blessings until Patrick’s grasps the hand of Jesus.

    ♥♥ Love ya!! ♥♥
    C.O.L.E.’s Foundation
    (Caring Openly, Loving Eternally
    Sandy Daron

    Reply

  41. January 09, 2012 at 1:25 pm, Gayle Foster said:

    We are praying for peace for all of you. You have fought the good fight . No one could have been better or more loving parents, grand parents, sisters to Patrick.

    Reply

  42. January 09, 2012 at 1:38 pm, catie said:

    Patrick and family are forever in my thoughts and prayers. May god wrap all of you up in his great big arms and provide the comfort and strength you need as you need it. Praying always.

    catie stebbing
    C.O.L.E.’s Prayer Team
    http://www.colesfoundation.org

    Reply

  43. January 09, 2012 at 2:19 pm, Susan Maxwell Littlefield said:

    Our thoughts and prayers are with your family now and always. May God hold Patrick in the palm of His hand while the angels at the gate welcome him! God bless all of your family now and in the coming days (and always!). Patrick and all of your family have been such an inspiration to so many!

    Reply

  44. January 09, 2012 at 3:08 pm, Sherry Hargett Sanders said:

    Thinking of you and your family and sending prayers.

    Reply

  45. January 09, 2012 at 3:20 pm, Marci,Doc,Trey and Shockley Nunnery said:

    Our hearts ache for all of you. Truly ache. There is no doubt in our hearts that Patrick’s comment of saying he was not scared …is the sweetest message to hear. Patrick Chance was sent to this earth to be a messenger and to teach us to never take a day for granted and to not be afraid because our Lord’s home is PERFECT. Your family is strength and courage . You all have traveled a journey that will help others . Prayerfully with research and Pressing On there will be a cure on this side. He is celebrating at THE BANQUET TABLE with Jesus and as good as the fishing at Lake Glenville is ….I bet in heaven it is even better!
    My guess is Patrick is finding some good spots for fishing,playing and reconnecting in Heaven at a later date for his family and friends.
    Tears pour from eyes. Blessings and Pax to you. The Doc Nunnery Family (as a neighbor…we have an extra room if needed )

    Reply

  46. January 09, 2012 at 3:27 pm, Pam Pope said:

    The heavens above are cheering and awaiting your little Patrick’s arrival for at last he can now experience being whole and clean of any cancer. I’m sure God will have great plans for him as he has been a strong little warrior during his battle of life. You have been great and wonderful parents, and I’m sure Patrick takes your love on with him in his heart. My prayers are with you and your family, and may God take away all sadness and replace your heart with his peace.

    Reply

  47. January 09, 2012 at 3:35 pm, Mary Kathryn Dozier said:

    We know Patrick and your family through Brennan’s Journey . We are so heartbroken for what all of you have been through and are going through!!!! We send peace, Love and prayers. He is an inspiration and a tough little fighter!! We will be thinking of you in the next days and weeks and know Patrick is going home to be with our Father!!!

    The Doziers

    Reply

  48. January 09, 2012 at 3:53 pm, Bethann frillman said:

    My thoughts are with you and your girls and sweet Patrick….

    Reply

  49. January 09, 2012 at 4:06 pm, Crystal Craig said:

    Stephen, Erin, Madison and Anna,

    Our hearts break for you, but we know that Patrick is in the loving arms of the Father. May God lift you up during this difficult time and know that your friends keep you lifted up in prayer. He is indeed an angel.

    Reply

  50. January 09, 2012 at 5:48 pm, andrea glover said:

    My thoughts and prayers are with all of you . Your family’s strength and love have been an inspiration to all that know you. Patrick will live on not only in your hearts but in the hearts of many.

    Reply

  51. January 09, 2012 at 6:10 pm, Jason Shepard said:

    Hugs and Love. Always.

    Reply

  52. January 09, 2012 at 8:28 pm, Victoria said:

    You’ve all been in our thoughts and prayers since we learned of
    Your struggle from Mya Terry. God bless you all. Your strength and composure are awe inspiring.
    From Toronto, Canada

    Reply

  53. January 10, 2012 at 6:12 am, Dara Young said:

    Your family is in my thoughts and prayers. With love, Dara Young

    http://www.colesfoundation.com

    Reply

  54. January 10, 2012 at 1:41 pm, Kimberely Scott said:

    Don Gordon and Family –
    Our hearts go out to you during this time. Our prayers cover you as you grieve and our shoulders are here, if you need one to cry on.
    So sorry for your loss.

    From your friends at the Imperial Theatre in Augusta, GA

    Kim

    Reply

  55. January 10, 2012 at 4:07 pm, Cleo and Donna Meyer said:

    We are saddened by your loss and cannot imagine your grief. Patrick was a vey special boy and our son Conner loved him dearly. My father died on his birthday when I was young and my mother had always told me that only the most special souls leave this earth on the same day they came in. I found a Jewish passage that outlines this fact and thought that I would share it with you…..The Chassidic masters explain that on the day we are born we are entrusted with a mission. The righteous person lives his life achieving his fullest potential and completes his mission the most perfect way possible. The perfection is expressed in the fact that his mission ends on the very same day that it was begun. Thank you for sharing your very special boy with Conner and the other children at our school. May Peace be with Patrick as well as with you and your family forever. God Bless!!! Cleo, Donna and Conner Meyer

    Reply

  56. January 10, 2012 at 4:23 pm, Brian Smith said:

    So sorry to learn of your loss yesterday of Patrick. Our family here near Omaha, NE will lift your family up in prayer during these days ahead.

    Reply

  57. January 10, 2012 at 10:29 pm, Carrie Crane & Ricardo Anhalt said:

    Erin and Stephen,
    There are no words I can come up with that could ever give you any comfort. Your Patrick is special and made an impression on all of our lives. We were not at TCS from the start but, Emma and Sarah love him and will miss him forever. God bless him and God will look after your family.
    Love,
    Emma and Sarah Anhalt
    Ricardo and Carrie

    Reply

  58. January 11, 2012 at 8:09 am, The Nicholas Family said:

    All of you are in our hearts and prayers as you make your way through this difficult time. We live just two doors down and will help in anyway we can.
    – The Nicholas Family

    Reply

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