Snow Swim Challenge

Up until yesterday I had never participated in a challenge, such as the Ice Bucket Challenge, to raise awareness for illnesses.  The father of a young child at our school has been diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer.  Vann Ly is 39 years old.   He has a wonderful family with two young children.  Little 3-year-old Evie goes to our school.

Devastating doesn’t even come close to describing what is happening with this family.

Yet, there is a wonderful backstory, and how happiness can make a difference:

Vann loves Captain America, and so does the family.  Vann wears his Captain America T-shirt to every chemo treatment.  In his words, “Captain America represents purity, goodness, and will never back down from a fight.”  Friends and family now wear a Captain America T-shirt.  Evie wears hers to school!

Van’s sister moved up her wedding date, and the wedding was held at the hospital in Boston, at Dana Farber Cancer Center, so Vann could be there.  Everyone at the wedding wore Captain America T-shirts.

Friends have started doing a “Snow Swim Challenge” and posting it on Facebook and YouTube.  This has given their family moments of joy and much happiness.  It is the highlight of their lives right now.  Laughter is the best medicine.

Yesterday my school participated in the challenge!  It was one of the best things we have done.  It took giving to another level.  Not only did it lift their spirits, it lifted mine as well.

Here is the YouTube video below.  Please share this, as March is Colon Cancer Awareness month.  I want to be able to tell Vann that people all over the world (you) have seen this.  I hope you are as lucky as I am, and get the opportunity to compete in a challenge and make a difference.  Never underestimate the power of Giving and Happiness.


About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It's the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That's what I write about. I am highlighted in the the new edition of Jim Trelease's bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at both the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, and the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital.
This entry was posted in Death and dying, Expressing words and feelings, Family, Giving, Inspiration, Kindness, Love and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

46 Responses to Snow Swim Challenge

  1. Wonderful support you are giving, Jennie. Cancer is such a terrible thing. I have first hand experience of it with my Mother.

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you, Robbie. It is truly devastating to families. Vann has been given only a few months to live. I’m so sorry to hear that your Mother has cancer.

      • My Mother is in remission, Jennie. She had a very aggressive treatment that finished about 2 years ago and she has been okay since. It was very hard on her and us when she went through the 18 months of treatment. The fear of re-occurrence never leaves you.

      • Jennie says:

        I’m glad to hear she is in remission, Robbie. That must have been a terrible time.

  2. Ritu says:

    Awesome Jennie ! I’ve shared. It’s so sad a stiru. I hope the challenge makes a difference 💜

  3. Opher says:

    Making a difference!! So important!! One of my friends has been diagnosed with terminal cancer this week. Another died from dementia. It has not been a good week. Keep on making a difference. It counts.

  4. Wonderful, Jennie. Brought tears.

  5. Funny that you guys in New England didn’t have enough snow to make a big ‘splash’ as stated in your intro…love the tp snow/waves, tho.
    Making a difference comes in many forms – laughter does help (rel)ease the pain.
    Blessings to you and the staff at your school.

    • Jennie says:

      It was fun to do with tp, packing peanuts and foam balls. Two weeks ago we would have had enough snow. Yes, laughter is the best medicine. Thanks so much, Laura.

  6. So funny and for such a lovely cause. Laughter is wonderfully healing as is the love of community. I with Vann Ly the best of life, Jennie. Sharing 🙂

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you, Diana. The video really is so funny. It has given the Ly family great joy. When a community rallies around a cause, it is a wonderful thing. ❤️

  7. Darlene says:

    There should be a love button as like doesn’t seem to be enough! It’s so great to see adults being silly and having fun. Blessings to Vann and his family. I hope he sees this video and it brings a smile on his face.

    • Jennie says:

      Awww… that’s so nice, Darlene. Thank you! Teachers really had the best time. Bringing smiles to a family is a wonderful thing. I believe Vann has seen the video, many times. ❤️🙂😍

  8. Wonderful challenge, Jennie. Best wishes to Vann and his family.

  9. Such a great story Jennie

  10. beetleypete says:

    Shared on Twitter and Google + , Jennie. Great to see you having fun, in aid of a serious cause.
    Best wishes, and good luck to Vann.

  11. AJ says:

    Oh my- he is lucky to have such an awesome support network:)

  12. You are a wonder Jennie. I’ve no doubt what you did that day, as with every day of your life, is appreciated by so very many. Hugs. 🐰

  13. frenchc1955 says:

    Jennie, this is wonderful!

  14. ren says:

    Beautiful! Thank you for sharing your caring life with us……

  15. Viola Bleu says:

    Reblogged this on Ideas.Become.Words and commented:
    Just wow.
    May this family be blessed with smiles and laughter together for a while longer yet 💫

  16. Laughter and caring friends can make a hugh difference.

  17. I’m sorry I didn’t see this sooner, Jennie. It hurts to hear someone with young children is so terminally ill. I will put him and his family on my immediate prayer list. Humor is the best medicine. I have a doctor who won’t use the term “terminal”. He thinks there is always hope to turn off the switch in the genetic code. That kind of diagnosis changes everything about you and those around you. His children are too young to lose him. My heart is heavy. It was fun seeing all of you being silly in your pretend snow. That’s what it takes.

    • Jennie says:

      It was so much fun, Marlene. Your doctor is right, and humor can be the best medicine. Thank you for adding Vann to your prayer list. It is truly sad. The family loves watching the video.

      • They say to never give up hope. I started to feel more hopeful after coming to the awareness that Stephen Hawking had lived for 50 years with a terminal illness. That is a profound accomplishment. I said my prayers for Vann last night and again this morning. Will continue no matter the outcome.

      • Jennie says:

        You are the best, Marlene! Never give up hope. Stephen Hawking is a shining example. Prayers are the the most important of all. Thank you!

  18. I am praying for Van right now.

  19. dgkaye says:

    What a bunch of beautiful hearts! I will share this on FB Jennie. ❤

  20. reocochran says:

    Jennie, I lost four school children (students) in nine years, as special needs preschool teacher. This often is a place where preemies turned into toddlers and other developmental​ delays prevail. Only one was a natural accident, three were young, bodies not able to sustain those precious lives. We held spaghetti dinners at our school, all proceeds for each family. The community was amazing! Some people paid a week’s worth of groceries cost for a plate of spaghetti, salad and garlic sticks. Served with McDonald’s orange drink included plus generous donation check. Each of the three families had stayed at the Ronald McDonald House in one city or another. Has anyone asked the local places like fast food or large companies to donate money? 🤔
    One Ohio family traveled out West to a hospital specializing in bowel surgery. This little guy came back, put his colonoscopy bag in a Little Tykes shopping cart and sadly, managed to live another six months. He taught us grace and courage, since he was fearless on hills maneuvering around our sloped playground. 😙😙

    • Jennie says:

      It is the dad who is dying. And that is just as devastating as a child who is dying. Thank you for sharing your heartfelt stories of hope and giving, Robin. I think asking local places is a terrific idea, and I hope that has happened. Go Fund Me is also excellent.

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