What it's all about
Walking with Jimmy, an All Saints Episcopal Church Mission Outreach Program (MOP), in partnership with Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Island Adventures, Schooners North and Camp Orkila provides post-treatment fellowship and activities on Orcas Island and Anacortes Washington for families living in the Midwest who are battling the long term emotional effects of childhood cancer. This experience gives the entire family an opportunity to reconnect with each other and helps bring the family unit back together.
Too often, the emotional effects of cancer take a devastating toll on the whole family. Walking with Jimmy’s goal is for families to take back the lives of every family member and move forward in a positive way by developing new connections with other families through fellowship and activities geared for the entire family. This can provide a sense of focus and achievement, replace the burden of an uncertain future with a focus on the present, as well as build life long memories filled with joy, love and freedom. Most importantly, it can bring back the smiles that were taken away. In the end, our ultimate goal is to demonstrate that no one walks alone in their journey.
“Our trip to Washington State with “Walking with Jimmy” was an amazing experience that gave our family a chance to reconnect and make new memories. When your child is diagnosed with cancer it puts a terrible strain on the family. Cancer does not just affect the child with cancer physically, but affects everyone in the family mentally, physically, and emotionally. Your child surviving cancer becomes a huge boulder that blocks your view of everything else going on in the world. All other issues are pushed aside during treatment and once treatment is completed, the family is left trying to hold back an avalanche of pebbles, rocks, and smaller boulders that have been building up. This trip allowed our family time together without all the distractions in a breath-taking location. We loved seeing whales breech, learning how to sail a schooner, ziplining, rock climbing, and all the other camp activities. We came home to our children thanking us repeatedly for this time we were able to spend together.”
– Miki Eckhardt
“I think “Walking with Jimmy” is important, because this trip gave my siblings an opportunity to spend time with my mom and me. We were away from them a lot during my treatment and this gave us a chance to bond as a family again. We spent a lot of time talking, playing games, and having fun. This gave us time away from my “cancer story” to just focus on us. There were no worries there and it took my mind off not fighting the cancer anymore. I liked seeing my brother and sisters having fun and smiling. I loved seeing the whales and I was able to share what I had learned about the whales during my treatment with my siblings. I think this opportunity would be good for any family post-cancer whose child is healthy enough to enjoy the activities. Thanks Walking with Jimmy for a great time…I had a blast!”
-Izabella Voelker, Age 14
MEET AIDEN- 2018-19'S WALKING WITH JIMMY JUNIOR AMBASSADOR
Aiden Mostek is a 10 year old 5th grader from Hebron, NE.
In January of 2016, when he was 8 years old, Aiden's voice began
to change. He kept saying it didn't hurt so his parents thought it
must be a cold, until he started to snore loud. They looked into
his throat with a flashlight and saw a mass. Doctor's thought the
mass was an enlarged tonsil and scheduled Aiden for a
tonsillectomy. During the surgery it was clear that his tonsils were
fine and the surgeon did his best to get a majority of the mass
out. On January 29th the family was given the diagnosis of
embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma of the parameningeal sinus.
MRI, CT and PET scans would confirm he had metastatic disease
in both lungs and some lymph nodes, stage IV. Aiden then had to
endure a bone marrow biopsy, spinal tap and brain MRI. The
family was told that if any of those tests came back positive then
his chance of survival would only be 30%, but if all three tests
came back free of disease, then his chance of survival would be
70%. After the longest day of their lives, doctors determined all
three tests were free of disease. Aiden was immediately started
on a chemo protocol called ARST0431 that consisted of weekly chemotherapy for 54 weeks delivering 7 different medicines that he received at Children’s Hospital in Omaha, NE, most weeks required him to be an inpatient for as long as 6 days at a time. He and his family traveled to Chicago, IL for 6 weeks of proton radiation to the face, neck and lungs that was given at Northwestern Medicine Chicago Proton Center where he had to lay perfectly still with his head strapped to a table for 45 minutes every day. During radiation Aiden’s mouth and throat swelled from inflammation so bad that he couldn’t eat anything by mouth for more than two months so he was fed via a g-tube. Aiden did amazing with his treatments and has had no evidence of disease since October 2016. His last chemotherapy treatment was February 28, 2017. God has been ever present, answering lots of prayer, and so visibly guiding the family through this storm in life. The family is eternally grateful for all the love and support and prayers they have received. Today Aiden loves playing video games, creating his own comics, building Legos, fishing and hunting with his family and just getting to be a kid again.