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live, love, GRAY

There’s a song called “Savior Please” by an artist named Josh Wilson that has really  made an impression on me over the last sixteen months. The lyrics are powerful and yet the music behind them is calm and soothing. The words of the song are simple but I think you, like me, will be able to draw courage and strength from them in YOUR time of need and will probably see, as you read them, why this song has meant so much to me as I’ve watched little Grayson battle stage 4 cancer. “Savoir Please” goes like this:

Savoir, please take my hand / I work so hard, I live so fast / This life begins and then it ends / And I do the best that I can, but I don’t know how long I’ll last

I try to be so tough but I’m just not strong enough / I can’t do this alone, God I need you to hold onto me / I try to be good enough but I’m nothing without your love / Savior, please keep saving me

Savior, please help me stand / I fall so hard, I fade so fast / Will you begin right where I end / And be the God of all I am because You’re all I have

Music has always been motivating to me through any circumstance of life. Music brings back memories of both good times and bad. Music is powerful. My name is Erika Knight. I grew up in Doug and Jill’s youth group and have worked with them, in ministry, for many years alongside my husband. When Gray was first diagnosed with cancer we started Pray4Gray.com as an outlet for Doug and Jill, as a way to spread word of Gray’s story, in hopes of accumulating as many prayers as we possibly could on Gray’s behalf and also to raise funds to help with Gray’s medical costs. Pray4Gray has become bigger then we could have ever imagined and while we are proud that our little seedling of an idea has turned into something so great we are also humbled by your response to Gray, the Everaard family and all that YOU have given in time, money and intercessory prayer for this incredible family. Often times, many of the posts you read on this website have been written by me. I pull from my time with the Everaard’s, from the conversations I have with Jill and from the medical facts they give me updating Gray’s treatment plan and simply put the feelings of the Everaard family into paragraph form for the public to read. They may be my words but they are the true feelings of a mother fighting alongside her son battling cancer. More recently, Jill has written several posts in her own words! I have loved having her hand on the Pray4Gray website.

The last update posted to this site was to inform everyone that Gray’s full body scan had revealed a spot that concerned his doctors. Gray was scheduled to undergo a surgery and biopsy to find out what they were dealing with. The doctors informed Doug and Jill that while this could mean the return of Gray’s cancer that outcome would be highly unlikely and they were quite sure that this “spot” was nothing more then calcified tumor or benign growth. Gray was admitted to the hospital to recover from his surgery while the family awaited the results of the biopsy. Almost a week after Gray’s surgery one of Grayson’s regular doctors visited him in his hospital room as a part of his regular morning rounds. During his visit, Jill asked about Gray’s biopsy results. According to Jill, as soon as she asked the question she could tell by the look on the doctor’s face that the news wasn’t good. She hoped for the best, but the doctor’s change in demeanor told her she should be prepared for the worst. That day, now only a couple of weeks ago, changed the lives of Gray and his family more then they ever thought possible. They are truly living any families worst nightmare.

As the doctor’s sat with Doug and Jill and explained what they found during Gray’s biopsy and what laid ahead for his treatment, it was hard for the family to keep alive any hope they had gained over the last year. Gray’s original diagnosis of cancer was shattering, but Gray responded so well to treatment from the very beginning. The treatment was never easy but Gray was making progress and that made the day-to-day worth it. There isn’t any combination of fancy words or sentences that can make this better and, honestly, I can’t figure out the best way to deliver the results of Gray’s biopsy so I’m just going to say it…Gray’s cancer has returned. Gray has been diagnosed, yet again, with stage 4 neuroblasoma. He has relapsed. The doctor’s said that for neuroblastoma to return so quickly after treatment (and after being in remission) is very rare. The days that followed this devastating news were full of tears, fear, anxiety and many decisions for Gray’s parents.

After such a rough month, the Everaard’s have decided to keep many of the details regarding Gray’s relapse private. They want to do all they can to protect, not only Gray, but also their oldest son, Seth, from as much of the reality of this diagnosis as they can. After much prayer, Doug and Jill have decided it is best for Gray and their family to do as much treatment locally as they can. Currently, Gray has begun a new chemo protocol wherein he will receive 4 rounds of chemo every 3 weeks. Each round of chemo lasts 5 days. During each week of treatment, Gray only has to visit the hospital for the first day of chemo and he receives that as an outpatient treatment in the clinic through his port. Then for the next four days Gray’s parents are able to keep Gray at home and administer his remaining treatment themselves. This form of chemo is actually oral, but instead of attempting to force Gray to swallow it, Jill has actually been taught how to pull the chemo capsules apart, mix the contents with apple juice and administer the drugs through Gray’s g-tube in his stomach. Gray’s current chemo protocol will be completed in April when Gray will again undergo another round of tests and scans to see if his cancer is responding to this new treatment. If his cancer IS responding favorably then this current concoction of chemo will be continued but if the cancer is NOT responding, the Everaard’s will then discuss further treatment options with Gray’s doctors, all of which would take them out of state for more advanced treatments.

Unfortunately, specifically with neuroblastoma, when a child relapses and the cancer returns it is much MUCH harder to get the cancer back into remission then it was the first time. The odds for a second journey into remission are not good. Gray has completed his first week of chemo. The treatment wasn’t easy. Gray has regressed back into the little boy of a year ago who looked and acted very sick. He is pale, very VERY thin and lethargic. Gray’s continued treatment has also effected his mood, which is to be expected. He is cranky and Doug and Jill often feel he is simply “done” being poked, medicated and, obviously, Gray is done being in pain.

I am writing this site update for Doug and Jill because they are simply too overwhelmed to do so for themselves. They are tired. They are fighting for their faith. They are battling cancer as a family and cherishing each moment together. If there’s one  lesson Gray has taught not only his family and close friends during this time but an important lesson he has taught all of us, it’s that you have to live life to the fullest each and every day! He may be tired and sick but Gray is still full of life and he reminds us every minute of every day that life isn’t about quantity but instead it’s about quality. PLEASE continue to pray for Gray. The Everaard’s trust in a healing and worthy God is the one and only thing keeping them afloat during this time and they know, despite such a heartbreaking setback, that God is STILL bigger then Gray’s cancer and he can STILL heal their baby! All of your support, thoughts and prayers and greatly appreciated. We will continue to keep you updated on any major developments in Gray’s health and throughout any decisions made about his treatment. We all thank you not only for your support but also for your consideration during this time.

“All my longings lie open before you, O Lord; my sighing is not hidden from you. My heart pounds, my strength fails me; even the light has gone from my eyes. I wait for you, O Lord; you will answer, O Lord my God.” Psalm 38:9-10, 15

36 Responses to “live, love, GRAY”

  1. Roy Garton January 17, 2012 at 1:07 pm #

    There are no words, only tears, but I’m fighting with God and praying for Gray everyday.

    • Bob Kennedy January 17, 2012 at 1:36 pm #

      I shall continue in prayer and shall start a ‘fast for both Greyson and his family…..thank you for your dedication Erika…..our entire world needs genuine caring passionate people like you nad your family….you inspire me to dig deeper….much much deeper….it’s not about us, it’s not about us.
      Lord right now I stop in my busy day and take time to bow before you and place my prayer at your feet…..You alone are Greysons Healer, You alone can comfort Doug, Jill and Seth and extended family….You alone placed the heavens and stars in their proper place….You Oh Lord are our strength and our Rock, our Shield and High Tower….wrap Yourself around the entire Everaard family this day and show Yourself Mighty and Strong….I love You Lord.

  2. Amber & Nathan January 17, 2012 at 1:33 pm #

    I have no words. I am sitting here in tears for this family and most specifically for Gray. I will continue to jeep little Gray in my prayers as well as his family. May God bless the Everaard’s

  3. Nicole galloway January 17, 2012 at 1:35 pm #

    My heartbreaks for the entire family!! You are all in my prayers, and I am believing in complete healing for Gray!

  4. Jason Byers January 17, 2012 at 1:44 pm #

    Thank you, Mrs Erika for the words that connect us with the Everaards so that we can pray and hope with them.

  5. Craig Eidson January 17, 2012 at 1:45 pm #

    My heart and prayers go out to you Doug, Jill and your entire family. Our prayers continue to be focused on complete healing. We love you and support you as you go through this difficult time.

  6. Sharon Rowan January 17, 2012 at 2:05 pm #

    This family has been in my prayers everyday. Grayson has been through more than anyone should have to go through. May God give him and them renewed strength. May God rebuke this cancer from his little body and give them the desires of their heart. God promised if we seek we shall find, ask and it shall be given, knock and the door will be opened. Asking for the angels of God to surround them all and bring, comfort, peace and HEALING. Thankyou for our updates. Your praying friend in Christ Jesus.

  7. Faye Salkil January 17, 2012 at 3:24 pm #

    Tank you for the update. Our prayers continue for the whole family. God is still in the healing business. We are standing in faith with doug and jill, seth and most of all little Gray.

  8. Meredith M. January 17, 2012 at 4:37 pm #

    Sweet baby Gray, my prayers are always with you and Mommy and Daddy and Seth. I wish there was more I could do for you but just know that you are loved by so many who have never even met you. God walks with you sweet baby and He loves you so much. I am so sorry you are all going through this.

  9. Kim Francis January 17, 2012 at 5:09 pm #

    I am so sorry to hear this news. I live in Atlanta, Georgia and I have been following little Gray’s story. I am inspired by the strength and faith of your family. I will keep praying for you and Gray. God Bless you.

  10. Gayle Childress January 17, 2012 at 5:27 pm #

    Healing is ours for the asking, praying Gray’s healing will be a earthly healing~!!!! By JESUS stripes we are healed—-

  11. Steve and Carol January 17, 2012 at 5:46 pm #

    Our continued prayers are with you Doug and Jill for peace that passes all understanding. Every moment of every day together is a special gift. Keep trusting Jesus :)

  12. Sandra Kepka January 17, 2012 at 6:12 pm #

    Our hearts are touched and prayers are going up for sweet Gray. We pray God’s peace to continually surround you Doug, Jill and Seth. Lord keep your arms wrapped around them, hold them up when they are weak, renew their strength, let them walk and not faint. You are our God, our healer. Let your presence be known to all. We thank you that you have a plan and it is a plan for good and not evil. Continue to give the doctors and nurses wisdom. Let every cell in Grey’s body began to function normally, in Jesus name.

  13. Amy Rachel January 17, 2012 at 6:22 pm #

    Thinking of you Jill and Doug. Praying for grey <3

  14. Chris Hales January 17, 2012 at 6:43 pm #

    My heart breaks for Gray and for Doug and Jill. We are committed to standing with them in prayer. So sorry to hear of this diagnosis and for the continued pain. We have faith and will believe in Jesus’s name for His healing.

  15. Jayni Graham January 17, 2012 at 6:52 pm #

    There are no fancy thought or words I can say to make this better, but I can say I’m sorry & that I’ll pray for you….

  16. mary ann rios January 17, 2012 at 6:54 pm #

    I am so sorry to hear this I am praying for another miracle, and for the parents of Gray….May you all find peace and comfort thru are prayers…..

  17. Lindsay January 17, 2012 at 8:28 pm #

    Speechless and drowned in tears. My heart breaks for little Gray and his family. I will continue to pray for strength and healing!!

  18. Sheryl Buckner January 17, 2012 at 9:09 pm #

    Grey’s my favorite color
    Black and white has never been my thing
    I’ll take my drink lukewarm now
    Hot and cold is not the thing for me,

    I cannot be blind no more
    Numb to what I’m living for
    Help me stop this compromise that justifies these lies
    I need Your passion in this life

    Grey’s my favorite color, yeah!

    Just put a little bit of this Christian song sang by Barlowgirls that I love and even love more after reading about your son Gray! ALL OF YOU and LITTLE Gray has been on my heart and can’t stop singing GRAYS MY FAVORITE COLOR!!!! You are in my prayers that God carries you ALL in his hands! <3

  19. Nancy Brewer January 17, 2012 at 9:46 pm #

    I’m praying for Gray and his family. May the peace of God which passses all understanding guard their hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

  20. Sheila Hart January 17, 2012 at 10:39 pm #

    I will continue to pray for Gods healing grace….God bless you!!

  21. Lisa January 17, 2012 at 11:21 pm #

    It wrecked my heart to read this today. I will continue to pray daily. I wanted to give you a verse to encourage your family, so i asked Father to speak to me and He said if you were them, what would help you? So i’m sharing these two verses that my mind brings to memory when my heart is wrecked and i have no words to say. i hope they help you as they have me. When my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.Ps 61:2(NKJV). My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds,“LORD, I am coming.” Ps 27:8(NLT)

    • Karen January 18, 2012 at 10:50 am #

      There truly are no words, just tears and a heart that breaks for them. I know God is able to do far more than we can imagine. We are trusting and believing for God’s peace and power for their family in the next few weeks. I pray they feel the love that so many are pouring their way today. Thank you for keeping us updated.

  22. Joyce Manis January 18, 2012 at 8:59 am #

    Praying for the whole family and for little Grays pain issues that the Lord would make them better on him. Praying for a quick healing in our time.

  23. Ryan January 18, 2012 at 9:17 am #

    I read all this and find myself trembling in sadness, sobbing. Doug, Jill, Seth, and sweet Grayson: I don’t know you personally, but am a part of your church family. I’ve been praying for you alongside the rest of our amazing church family, and feel as if I do know you. My heart breaks and I cry out “why?” I don’t know the answer to this question, but believe God’s promise in Romans 8:28. Many may ask, “Where is God in all this?” He is with you. He knows our pain. He knows your pain as His son also reaped what He did not sow and suffered what He did not deserve.
    Thank you Jesus for coming for us and suffering on our behalf. Thank you God for being there for us and with us. This battle is yours, and we give it to you, Lord. We do not always understand the “why’s,” but we remain faithful that your Word is true. Thank you Father, for the Everaard family and the faith they have courageously demonstrated and shared. Please renew our faith, Lord. Please strengthen Grayson’s body and continue to use this battle for your glory. In the name of Jesus: Amen.

  24. Trilla January 18, 2012 at 5:21 pm #

    My heart aches for the entire family. I will continue to pray for Mom, Dad, Brother, and especially Gray.

    • Toni January 22, 2012 at 5:08 pm #

      Prayers from the 0ZARKS FOR BABY Gray!!!

  25. Krystal Dillon January 23, 2012 at 8:29 am #

    Words just aren’t enough to express my love and thoughts for you guys! Kendall and I are continuing to pray for little Gray and for all of you! We love you Doug and Jill! We are lifting Gray and Seth and all of you up in prayer! May God continue you to give you supernatural peace, joy and strength and precious HEALING for Gray. We love you! Krystal

  26. Kristi Northup January 23, 2012 at 11:40 pm #

    I’m so overwhelmed, I keep coming back to this posting and re-reading it. Doug and Jill do not need to fear that people will no longer carry the burden to pray for them. For me, it has been ten times stronger since I read about the spot they operated on after Christmas. We have prayed for “Baby Grayson” as my daughter calls him, everyday. But these last few weeks I have found myself praying many, many times a day. We are with them in spirit and will continue to pray in the Spirit on their behalf. So much love, Kristi

    • Heather Fowler February 8, 2012 at 4:31 pm #

      I have been keeping up with Gray and was checking every day, so read the heartbreaking news several weeks ago. I just wanted to share that I have been in the NB world for 3 1/2 years now, and since I have connected through ACOR’s NB e-mail list, have become acquainted with many families (as well as when we went to NYC for treatment). There are MANY children who achieve 2 (and even 3rd) remission. Both 2nd NED and years of stable disease do happen. There is hope! Top places for relapse treatment, should you decide to travel, are Memorial-Sloan Kettering in NYC, CHOP (Philadelphia), and Dr. Giselle Sholler in Grand Rapids, MI. May you feel the comfort and healing of Jesus Christ.

  27. Candy McGhghy February 27, 2012 at 6:18 pm #

    I had an overwhelming feeling to check on Grayson’s progress today and found the post of his cancer returning. Our youth pray for him regularly and always ask for updates. I found my self being selfish today and thinking that the attack of satan lately is almost more than I can take and I read about your family and my heart breaks and I become humbled and ashamed. My sister has stage 4 mestatic breast cancer but to see a child breaks my heart. I ask you now Great Physician please heal little Grayson and give a grace and peace to his mom, dad, and brother. They are faithful to you and to us and we ask that you hold them close and just love them all as only you can. We will continue our prayers. Love to you all.

  28. Deanna Shrodes March 6, 2012 at 8:15 pm #

    We are still praying for Gray here in Tampa, FL at Celebration Church. We will continue to stand with you!!!

    Much love,
    Pastor Deanna Shrodes
    Co-Pastor, Celebration Church

  29. Kelaiah Johnson March 12, 2012 at 5:17 pm #

    Something lead me here today. Admittedly I haven’t been on in a while. I had a bad feeling before I started reading. Oh my hearts so heavy. Dear Lord, I pray for Gray, please take him in your arms Lord. Be with him and his family. God you have given the such a promise. You know the plans you have for him. God I pray that you’ll touch them,hold them, come along side them and comfort them. In Jesus’s mighty name. Amen.

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