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What My Daughter’s Illness Has Taught Me About Fatherhood

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eric and allieMy name is Eric, and I’m a member of the FedEx flight crew team. I’m fortunate to have an amazing job flying precious things across oceans, connecting people and possibilities all over the world. It’s a wonderful job…But without a doubt, my most important job is being a father.

My kids, Allie and Zach simply amaze me every single day.

Recently, my daughter, 15 year old Allie, was diagnosed with a form of brain tumor called anaplastic ependymoma. As shaken as we were by the diagnosis, Allie has been a rock. The wonderful folks at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital have cared her for as she fought through major surgery, radiation therapy, and difficult treatments.

It’s been more than a year now, and she’s doing great, in many ways living the life of a normal teenager, spending time with friends, pursuing a passion for photography, and is even a member of her high school’s dance team.

Being a dad to Zach and Allie has taught me lots of things.

As a parent, our main goal is to protect our children from the day they are born. However, when your child is diagnosed with cancer, you feel so powerless and helpless.

But from Allie’s experience I have learned that this makes you as strong as you have to be because there really is no other choice. Everyone has eternal strength, and you may not think it is there until the moment arises you have to have it.

Our Allie is so strong and she barely sheds tears or questions why she had to be the one to have cancer. People are definitely stronger than you think.

A remarkable aspect about being a father is seeing what your kids are capable of; kids are capable of things you cannot even imagine. I can barely even draw a stick figure, but Allie recently sold the first painting she ever created in a Make-a-Wish auction for $4,000!

I’ve learned that as parents, we can only do our best – you will not always have all the answers. Not everything will be perfect at times, but if we follow our instinct to love our children, the answers will come.

Note: Every year, FedEx Express names a Cessna Caravan plane in honor of a FedEx team member’s child who is a patient at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. At this year’s tournament, the aircraft was named after Allie.

Comments (44) 

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Eric, I enjoyed reading this touching story about Allie, her strength, the love shared, and family faith. The article in the AIr Ops magazine about Operation Purple Eagle was pretty special. Another good example of how FedEx supports family and organizations that care about families.

We have children so that we can teach them how to live .... then they turn around and teach us!!

All the best to you Eric and to your daughter Allie. Relate to you and can appreciate the courage. Pray that all in similar situations take courage and reach loftier levels.

I'm an Oncology nurse in the suburbs of Atlanta, and I just so happened to be on the FedEx website arranging a pickup when I saw this story. Between the painting that sold for $4,000 and the plane named Allie - - - I just couldn't help but shed a happy tear or two over this story. it just goes to show that even when you feel as if you're the only one in your awful situation, there are others out there with your back, and who truly care. You are in my prayers for continued success on this battle. Thanks for sharing!

the story remind me of the staying in fedex,although i am not one member of this family ,i am gratitude for all the experience i have been through . wish fedex will be more stronger and thank you all the guys who care about me on work and life , no matter where i go ,i always will be the one with passion and love .... best wishes ....

Thanks for your beautiful story, it is very inspiring. Blessings to you and your family

Hi Eric, God bless Allie and your family. She is truly an inspiration. Her courage along with the love and support from you, your wife and Zach and countless others, has shown all of us the importance of a strong family bond. Especially through the tough times. I deeply believe in the power of prayer and will keep all of you in my thoughts and prayers.... God bless....

Thanks Eric for sharing such a personal story.I wish all the best to Allie and to you and your family.God Bless!!

Thank you for sharing your story. It is a powerful reminder of how precious our children are. I appreciate your positive attitude in the face of such a difficult circumstance. God be with you,

Thank you for sharing this beautiful story. Best of luck to your daughter and family, going through these trails only make you that much stronger. Continue to be positive, there is always sunshine at the end of a storm!

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