Monday, January 22, 2018

The James Fund neuroblastoma Retreat – A Beautiful Noise

 The following reflections are by Faye Whyte, the mother of a neuroblastoma child. Faye’s family was part of the recent James Fund retreat held at Camp Ooch.  

Some of us find beauty in sound, and some in the absence of sound. Life these days seems so full of noise that a quiet place can be hard to find.  Camp Ooch, where we are privileged to attend the James Fund Retreat weekend each year, is one place with both true quiet and incredibly beautiful noise.

Entertainment at the Saturday evening campfire was headlined by The Howling Bluebird African Drummers, an elite troupe that formed for only one performance. What a joyful noise as our children chanted, drummed and danced. And what a blessing that the weather held, and the drums stayed outside.

Fire trucks. With big, blasting, air horns. Better than potato shooting, I’m told.

On Saturday evening, after the adult reception, my father and I were strolling back to our cabin in the cool, damp air. Ahead and on our right, an owl called. Then, without a whisper of sound, he flew right across our path, like a shadow across the moon. Wow.

Perhaps the most beautiful sounds of all were the sounds of families. The mealtime hubbub; the roaring of giants, mumbling of wizards and screeching of elves during game time; and the focused murmur as we tie-dyed our T-shirts were all so special, yet so ordinary. These little moments, they are the stuff of life. They are the moments that we’ve learned to cherish. Everyone should learn this lesson for free.

The most beautiful quiet? Sitting scattered around a room with other parents and family members, and being asked, ‘What is the most important thing that The James Fund needs to do?’ After a few moments of thoughtful silence, every person had the same top two answers. Number two: Support the families. Number one: Find a cure.

Faye Whyte is the mother of two beautiful girls, Sydney and Georgia who, together with Dad Scott, support The James Fund by raising awareness and funds for neuroblastoma research through Sydney and Georgia’s HOPE Fund (Helping People Every Day). To learn more, please visit Faye’s blog. 

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