caitierumiAt the beginning of March, I donated an illustration that was auctioned for a cause. It was for Caitie Lucas, who at that time, was undergoing many different tests so doctors can figure out the cause of her sickness. She was only three and a half years old then. I couldn’t even imagine the pain that this little girl has to go through, fighting her then-unknown disease. She was eventually diagnosed with Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukemia (JMML), a very rare form of leukemia that only one person out of a million acquires it –  and only infants and children are affected by it.

This work was auctioned for Caitie’s cause in her Facebook page. Photo by Joannie Candi.

I came across Caitie’s story through my Facebook feed. Her parents are prominent figures in the wedding industry here in the Philippines, and a lot of my Facebook friends, who are also wedding suppliers, were sharing her page.

Her story affected me greatly, her courage touched me, and her parents’ faith inspired me. Looking at the pictures that her parents took and reading their captions were just so awe-inspiring. How can that tiny child show such resilience, and that frail body show such inner strength?  I am a new mother. My entire body becomes weak whenever I imagine myself in the shoes of Caitie’s parents. Their pain is too real, and I weep every time I visit their Facebook page for updates. But even through all that suffering, their strength is admirable, and that is because of their faith in Christ.

Earlier today, my heart broke when I read that Caitie passed away. I looked at her page and saw the pictures that her parents took, and I thought to myself, “Fly free, little one. You’ve earned your angel wings.” Her suffering is over. She is now in heaven and smiling with Christ. So I think about all that suffering that she endured, and I remember a quote from Rumi, “The wound is the place where the Light enters you.”

Suffering and pain are great teachers. Let us all learn and be inspired by Caitie and her family.

I hug my little one tight and very close to me. Let us thank God for everything in our lives, and be mindful of not taking anything for granted. Caitie’s story is short, yet it was full of love, good memories, and great faith.

To Caitie’s parents, thank you for sharing her story. We fell in love with her through our screens, and losing her is like losing our own. I cannot fathom the depth of the pain that you are experiencing now, but the world – moved by Caitie’s journey, weeps with you.

In the meantime, please visit Caitie’s GoFundMe page. Let us all help with whatever we can. Little things can go a long way, and Caitie just proved that. She’s a little girl who conquered her battle here on earth and is now spending the rest of eternity in paradise. May her story be an inspiration to us all.



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