This is where it all started, Bear Hugging and Cancer Crushing. When we talk about the inspiration behind our children’s book, this is where it began. When Eric didn’t feel well, he would always ask Bryce for a Bear Hug, and inevitably it would make Eric feel better.
This picture was taken right after Eric had his brain surgery. Boy, does this photo bring back memories….some good and some not so good. However, no matter how tough the times got and how far our emotions wanted to bring us down, the important thing is we made it together.
On December 20th of this year, it will be four years since Eric’s diagnosis of grade 4 glioblastoma brain cancer, with a tumor the size of a baseball in his frontal lobe. Having been given a 6-12 month prognosis, we cherish every day, let alone every year that passes.
And so as the story goes….Cancer just means Daddy needs more of my bear hugs to help make him stronger, so he can be here on earth with me a lot longer!
OUR INSPIRATION…..Three years ago our world was turned upside down when Eric was diagnosed with grade 4 glioblastoma brain cancer. As a healthy 29 year old male, a loving husband and father to an amazing little boy – the news of the words “CANCER” seemed so far from the truth.
Since the day that Eric was diagnosed, we knew there had to be a greater plan as to why we were dealt this deck of cards and why we were chosen to battle such a monstrous disease. Then, one day we had an idea; an idea on how to pay it forward. We had an idea to write a children’s book for families affected by cancer. We have also created a jewelry line with a local jeweler who fell in love with our story and wanted to be a part of it.
OUR STORY BEHIND THE BOOK….It all goes back to the first thought that crosses your mind when you are given such devastating news; your child. At the time of the diagnosis we were the parents of a 3 year old boy and much of our time was spent reading children’s books to him. When you hear news as devastating as cancer you think; “How are we going to explain it? Maybe we don’t say anything?”
We have written a lighthearted rhyming children’s book, Bear Hugging and Cancer Crushing, to help explain to a child what cancer means. Children’s books are amazing and almost always filled with life’s lessons told in a way that a child can understand. Children have many questions when they learn of a parent’s diagnosis, and everyone needs to find strength through what can be a trying time. Our son gave us strength in the best way he knew how, his bear hugs, which inspired this book. With so many people affected by cancer and many of those being parents, this book can benefit countless families – as it has our own.
ABOUT THE JEWELRY….Our Cancer CanknotTM Jewelry is custom designed to look like a cancer ribbon with a knot in the middle of the ribbon to symbolize strength and be a reminder of everything that Cancer CanknotTM do. When we approached Perrywinkles Fine Jewelry in downtown Burlington, Vermont they were inspired by our story and immediately stood behind the idea. From there, our partnership was formed.
We brought our design ideas to Perrywinkles and they were able to refine the jewelry pieces, so they were functional and most importantly…beautiful. Perrywinkles’ exclusively produces and sells all of the jewelry pieces. We are very proud of our creation. Whether you are a survivor, a person battling cancer or a part of the support system for the person fighting the disease, you can wear this jewelry as an unspoken word to how you have been affected by cancer and what it canknot do.
We hope our life experience inspires many other families in need of hope.
Anna and Eric Gilcris