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my heart lies open

The past two months have gone by in both slow motion and at lightning speed at the same time. Gray has endured all but one week of chemo. His final round was supposed to start this week but unfortunately he is neutropenic, meaning his blood counts are too low to withstand the chemo treatment, and so his last round has been postponed. As of now, he will begin his final week of chemo over spring break. Throughout this form of chemo, Gray has thankfully been home nearly the entire time! He hasn’t been admitted to the hospital and he hasn’t gotten nearly as sick as he did with his previous chemo treatments. He DID lose his hair but instead of going completely bald his hair has mostly fallen out in patches. We shaved his head in the beginning but lately have let his hair grow where it wants, when it wants. Instead of his hair falling completely out this time, something a bit more strange has happened. The hair that Gray does have has begun growing in very course and in what appears to be very tight curls. It feels very rough to the touch. It is quite different from Gray’s normal, baby soft hair but hair is hair and we’ll take what we can get!

As Gray gets closer to his last week of chemo, on this current treatment plan, we are excited AND very nervous. Obviously, it’s never easy to see your baby endure chemotherapy and so for that reason we are ready for it to be over. Our nerves are always there, though, lurking in our minds. We wrestle through sleepless nights and do our best to pray through our fear. As soon as Gray finishes his last round of chemo he will go through a battery of tests, once again, to determine if the chemo is doing its job in battling Gray’s cancer. That’s where our nerves set in. Soon, very soon, we will know where we stand in Gray’s battle against this very aggressive and very horrible cancer. We are preparing our hearts by throwing our son at the feet of the Lord and pleading for his life. We know God has a plan and we simply pray every single day that THAT plan, HIS plan, will be THE plan for Gray’s life. We know that no matter what Gray is in God’s hands and we would not rather him be in the hands of anyone else. It may not always be well with our circumstances, but we pray it is well with our souls.

Since we last updated you on Gray’s progress and treatment we have simply enjoyed life as a family. We have had down time, while at the same time life has moved forward and work is as busy as ever. Right now we are preparing for Fine Arts at the end of the month and then youth camp quickly follows at the beginning of the summer. As the ministry continues so does Gray’s treatment and the reality of that treatment comes to us in many forms every day. We see the physical effects of Gray’s illness and treatment in his little bald head, the feeding tube protruding from his belly and the many side effects that come with fighting cancer. We most definitely see it in our daily routine. Everything we do is scheduled around Gray’s feedings, treatments and doctor’s appointments. And we also see the reality of cancer in our mailbox. Over the last eighteen months we have relied on insurance, friends, family, our wonderful job, this website, donations and fundraisers to help pay for Gray’s non-stop treatment. In a long list of adjectives that could be used to describe anyone’s journey and fight against cancer EXPENSIVE is definitely one of them. The bills are never ending and on top of the medical expenses there are endless expenses that simply add up when you are living this life. It’s not fair but as I’m sure any one of you would do, when it comes to your child, you will shell out any amount of money if it gives you the tiniest sliver of hope that your son will recover from this horrible disease.

As we update you today and share our heart with all who have followed Gray’s story and prayed with us each and every day from the beginning, we lay our hearts open wider before you now then we ever have before. Many of you have encouraged us over these many months by offering your love and support and you have also offered your assistance in any way needed if it ever came to that point. Well, that moment is now. We know that all families struggle and, especially now, times are tough but with mounting medical bills and the prospect of most likely having to travel in the near future to pursue further and more aggressive treatments for Gray we are simply asking that if anyone is able to they purchase some Gray gear or simply make a one time donation through Pray4Gray. By buying a Gray t-shirt or wristband you will not only be directly helping pay Gray’s medical bills but you will also be helping us spread the word about Gray’s story and all the prayer he needs and deserves right now. If you would prefer, though, monetary donations are always welcome. It is beyond humbling to practically stand before you tonight and ask for this kind of help but like we said earlier, if it means any extra hope for our little man we will put aside our pride and do it! We know we’re not in this alone.

Thank you to each and every one of you who have been there with us through this battle. We wish the battle was closer to an end but unfortunately we can’t even say that it’s reached its peak. Anyone and everyone who has ever said a prayer for Gray, sent him a gift, wrote us a note, made a donation to his cause or simply said a word of encouragement to us we can’t thank you enough! You have held us up in this battle whether you know it or not and we wouldn’t be where we are today if it weren’t for each and every person who has played a role in our lives and in the life of our son Gray. We love you all more then you’ll ever know.

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Hello everyone. My name is Erika Knight and I spoke to you in the last update on Pray4Gray. I write for the Pray4Gray website and today’s update was particularly difficult to write. As you can imagine, it has never been easy to write updates on little Gray. I am often in tears as I relive, through my words, what Gray and his family are going through. It can so often be a burden but it is one that I am honored to carry. It’s the least I can do. This update was emotional in an entirely different way. So often I am writing about Gray being sick or undergoing a grueling surgery and that is beyond difficult but this update was difficult because so much of my strength is tied into the strength of my fearless leaders, Doug and Jill. They were my youth pastors growing up and over the years have become very close friends and quite honestly, my heroes. To hear the voice of such a strong spiritual man tell you that they need help and then have to translate that into words is something I never imagined myself doing but I’m willing to do whatever I can. I’m willing to walk the extra mile. Tonight, I’m asking each of you to walk that extra mile with me. If you can, PLEASE give to Pray4Gray. I know personally how much it would help this family and how much their burden would lighten allowing them to focus on their son, their family and what needs to be done to get Gray well. Whether you choose to give by purchasing Gray Gear or whether you choose to make a monetary donation it truly doesn’t matter. Simply do what you can. If you are unable to give financially then please PRAY!! We are not asking that everyone give but we are asking that everyone do something. And that something includes prayer. Tonight, we have put most of our Gray Gear on SALE!! Pray4Gray t-shirts are now on sale for $10, wristbands are $3 and we have put our remaining Praise4Gray tees from our worship night last summer on sale for $5. Don’t forget that 100%…THAT’S 100%…of what you give through Gray Gear purchases goes DIRECTLY to the Everaard family and of course whatever cash donations come in go directly to them as well. Through Pray4Gray we have done our best to work hard in helping this family and tonight is no different. It’s so easy to fall into day to day life and become complacent in our prayers for Gray but this is a PLEA for you to remember all that Gray has endured and make a move! We need you! Thank you in advance for the many purchases, donations and PRAYERS that I know are coming Gray’s way in the days to come.

“I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done.” Matthew 21:21

9 Responses to “my heart lies open”

  1. Sharon Rowan March 16, 2012 at 7:38 pm #

    Thankyou so much for the update on Grayson. I pray for him every night and I pray that God will touch the hearts of people and you will began to see donations come in for Grays continued fight against Cancer. God Will Make A Way.

  2. Christie Jarnagin March 16, 2012 at 7:48 pm #

    You are on my heart ALL the time! I pray for Gray and your family several times a day!

  3. Michael & Janet Carter March 17, 2012 at 5:45 am #

    We continue to pray for Gray and your family!! Thank you for the updates! Our heart goes out to all of you as you walk this path! Love you!

  4. Kristi Northup March 17, 2012 at 8:02 pm #

    So grateful for the update. I check every couple of days. So many times I wonder as I face a difficult moment with my little boy what Doug & Jill may be going through at that moment. We pray for you constantly. I’m glad to know that even with the treatment, you have been able to be at home and have some of the normalcy of daily life together. Believing for a good report.

    Love you,
    Kristi

  5. Meredith M. March 19, 2012 at 12:46 pm #

    Sending you love and always praying for you Gray and Mommy and Daddy and big brother. You are one of the bravest little boys I have ever seen. I am praying for your complete and total healing.

  6. Bruce Girkin March 20, 2012 at 2:03 pm #

    Doug and Jill-

    My boss is the former director of a charity called Angel Flight Oklahoma. They offer free flights for people in your situation. He believes that they would be able to assist. The pilots are all volunteer and do this out of the goodness of their heart. They can be reached at 918-749-8992.

  7. Devin Green May 3, 2012 at 5:42 am #

    I go to the church Mustang the Bridge. Last night in our youth group, during pre-service prayer, we prayed for your family, and especially Seth. Seth has been in my Sunday School class for a while now, but it’s still sometimes hard to wrap my head around what’s happening.
    I pray for you guys every day and night, and every day and night I have to force the tears not to come. I pray that God’s will be done in your family’s lives.

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