#BreakYouMake

I recently heard about Chobani Flips #BreakYouMake initiative asking if we know someone who is in need of a well-deserved and much-needed break. Immediately, a number of people sprang to mind: my husband, numerous family members, various friends, heck, even me! We’re all a little overworked and stretched beyond capacity, no? Ironically, it was only while I was enjoying a break with my family that the answer became obvious: Barb Anderson.

Barb is the dedicated mother of Jude, a three-year-old who is battling Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. 

Barb and I first met in a spin class in 2009. She was the instructor and I was the sweaty, out-of-breath student attempting to get in shape for my wedding. At the time she also owned and operated a PR/Marketing firm. I coveted her knack for entrepreneurship and natural ability to maintain a high RPM. However, neither of us could have predicted how her perseverance or steely determination would set the course for events yet to come.

Jude was first diagnosed with ALL at 18-months, around the same time that Barb also found out she was pregnant with her second child. As a parent, I can’t even begin to imagine the devastation, heartbreak, and uncertainty associated with this disease. If my little boy scrapes his knee, the easiest fix is a colorful band-aid and a kiss. For Barb, the fix is not so easy. Jude’s diagnosis means transfusions, spinal taps, bone marrow biopsies, chemotherapy, and endless hospital stays.

Barb and family are troopers through it all and somehow manage to maintain high-spirits. Despite successfully battling cancer, Jude had a relapse in early January of this year. As a result Barb and her family recently relocated from Tucson to Minnesota to ensure that Jude could obtain the best care possible.

Jude received a bone marrow transplant in late May of 2015 (in addition to numerous other prior treatments) and since then, she and her family have been doing all they can to ensure his comfort and recovery. In between hours spent in the hospital away from her husband and younger son, Barb takes the time to manage her own business and keep everyone apprised of Jude’s progress. Somehow she’s also found time to build awareness for Be the Match, an organization dedicated to finding marrow donors.

If anyone understands the weight, importance, and beauty found in every hour, minute, and millisecond of life, it’s Barb. It’s impossible to properly describe in a blog post all that she has gone through and all that she continues to sacrifice for the health and well-being of her family. All I know is that Barb seeks out or makes a break every chance she gets. It’s time she actually received one.

I dedicate my #BreakYouMake moment to Barb and family. Anything I can do to lighten the load they bear would be time well spent.

Who would you nominate for a break?

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