I mentioned earlier in my "100 facts about me" that I have one best friend. Well, I am here to talk about her today. She is not only my best friend but my big sister, Lara.
When I think about her I think about all the struggles she has gone through in her life and how she still manages to stay the happiest, most inspirational woman I know.
Lara was diagnosed with Leaukemia when she was about 7. It was around Christmas and she was having flu like symptoms that wouldn't end. When my Mom was giving her a bath one night she noticed small red bumps all over her body and took her into the hospital immediatly. There my Mom and Dad were given the news that she has been diagnosed with Leaukemia and if she hadn't come into the hospital that night, she may not have lived to the morning.
She spent the next several years of her life in and out of the hospital (but mostly in) She went through Chemo and endured things kids should never have to go through. My parents would spend most of their time in the hospital with her while my dear Grandma moved in to take care of me. I was 5 at the time.
As she got older and was given a clean bill of health, she dedicated her life to helping other kids that are in the same situation she was in. She has volunteered for over 10 years at Camp Goodtimes, a camp that gives kids with cancer a chance to be themselves and let leave their worries at the door. I attended this camp with her for a couple years in my Jr. High days, and it was amazing. Some of these kids have life threatening cancers, some terminal. They are all treated the same and have so much fun when they are there.
Lara went to college to become an elementary school teacher specializing in kids with special needs and also becoming fluent in Spanish. Her first job was teaching kids in a low income part of Yakima Washington, most of the kids did not speak English.
Since then she has taught both kinderarten and currently second grade. She is in a dual language program now where she teaches half a day in Spanish and half a day in English. It's amazing to see these kids pick up Spanish so easily and to see the Spanish speakers picking up English so easily. You can see her love for kids is so great.
One of the things she wanted most in life was to become a Mom. She met and married her husband Chris about 6 years ago. After several years of trying to get pregnant they decided to adopt. The long process then began. A little boy named Blake from Guatemala would soon become theirs. It was a long process but after a little more than a year, Blake came home to stay!
Lara got a long term substitute and gave lesson plans over the internet while she traveled to Guatemala to meet her son. She stayed there for almost the whole year with Blake in a house she shared with other Guatemalan kids and their adoptive parents. We all took tearns visting her, but she spent many months alone. She spent 3 holidays there, including Christmas.
While she was there, she made great friends with all the Guatemalan people, helping them with her generousity. She actually saved one little boys life. He was in much need of medical care but his Mom could not afford it. Lara not only paid for the medical care but went to the hospital with him.
She had fun buying the little kids trinkets in the market. Everyday she went there, all these little kids would run up to her and ask her in Spanish, "what are you going to buy us today?" She changed so many lives in the time she was there and I know being there changed her life.
I got a chance to visit her for a week and it had a huge impact on me. It was not only beautiful but really makes you see how lucky we all have it here. Everyone was very friendly and it was the best experience ever! ( I am the red head with the braids in the pictures)
They were able to bring Blake home one day before his 1st birthday! He is the sweetest little boy ever! I will always hold a special place for him in my heart. He is so loved.
2 months ago Lara called to tell me she was pregnant! A miracle! What she and doctors thought would never happen, did! We are all so happy for her and her family. She is a little over 3 months along, continuing to teach her second grade class, and doing wonderful! Her belly is growing and although they don't want to find out the sex of the baby, I have been buying quite a bit of pink!
The world is truly a better place because Lara Aileen Williams is in it. I love you Lara and am proud to be your little sister!
If you want to check out her blog here is the link: http://blakeluis.blogspot.com/