Dear Nicolas Sparks,
Mind if I call you Sparky? Didn’t think so. We’ll stick with Nicolas.
My name is Kuehn Miller. I am a glorified box carrier at the CHERUBS headquarters in Wake Forest, NC. I carry A LOT of boxes. But this is a good thing.
Why is it a good thing? It means that there is a family out there still clinging to hope. Hope is a rarity for CDH families. The boxes (called totebags) contain gifts for expecting parents or for parents with babies still in the hospital. The totebags have hand sanitizers, dry erase boards, disposable cameras, a handprint making kit and many more helpful items.
Most of the items in the totebags are donated by friends and family of CDH babies. On the blankets, the teddy bears, the hand lotions are stickers that either say “In loving memory of…” or “In honor of…”
I’m a twenty-something bearded man. I like bon fires, bacon, and Braveheart. I suppress my emotions (much to the chagrin of my therapist).
However, when packing a totebag, I handle the precious little boots and cute onesies. Looking at them, there is a strange sensation in my chest. The same kind of sensation I experienced when Mandy Moore (Jamie Sullivan) sang “Only Hope” in the movie version of your book “A Walk to Remember.”
(Side note, how on earth did Jamie and Landon get all the way up to the VA/NC state border from Beaufort in such a short span of time? Just a question that has bothered me for about a decade.)
Sorry, back to the issue of hope.
Littering the walls around my desk are portraits of kids wearing the CHERUBS wings. Right above my computer monitor is a picture of a young mother sitting at a miniature tea-party. Across from her is an empty chair with a set of wings attached.
The majority of these posters reiterate time and time again the 50% mortality rate of CDH children.
If you were told that when you went to bed tonight, there is a 50/50 chance of you not waking in the morning, would you sleep?
Mothers and fathers around the world go to bed at night praying, hoping that their precious child will still be there in the morning. Maybe the child leaves us suddenly; maybe the child is in agony for hours as their lungs stop working; maybe everything will be fine.
This is a broken world. Broken dreams are part of humanity.
Even one, ONE mention of congenital diaphragmatic hernia in an upcoming book would work wonders for CDH awareness. We need help. Will you help us, Mr. Sparks?