Diary of a Cancer Dad

..The reason for the annual Book DriveReading with Gabby_Fotor

John’s big disclaimer.

The following is the opinion and thoughts of John Vogel. In no way does it reflect the opinion of The Get Well Gabby Foundation, its board members or supporters. I try to be sensitive to others however cancer isn’t sensitive, so at times I have trouble staying that way. Cancer is ugly, nasty, and earth shattering. It can’t all be puppy dogs and rainbows.

“You’re angry, get over it, don’t you care about anything? You have other children, think of them. You’re jealous, you need to move on, it gets better, and don’t you realize we are all hurting?”

These are just a few of the wonderful things you hear when you enter the world of Cancer. Some you hear in the beginning and some you hear a few years later. Describing the death of a child to a person who has never lost a child is about the same as describing what the color purple looks like to a blind person who was born without sight. It just can’t be done.

Here’s the issue… When you lose a child everyone is with you, they all want to help, but don’t know how. They all can’t imagine what you’re going through and don’t want to. And please hear me when I say this. “THAT”S OKAY! I never want a person to feel this; I never want someone to imagine what it is like.   The issue is that when you can’t imagine the loss of a child you can’t possibly understand the timeline (if there is one) that is associated with it. We have lost friends and family due to the fact that either we haven’t healed quickly enough, we talk too much about Gabby or we just haven’t adapted to the loss of our daughter as quick as other people.

One of the reason we formed Get Well Gabby was to keep our daughters name alive forever. For everyone that shares, comes to an event, or reads something about her she still lives. When you lose a child to cancer you lose, yourself, family and friends. You also gain new friends that at times become more like family. As The Get Well Gabby Foundation has grown we have lost people and gained, we are making a larger difference in the fight against pediatric cancer than we did last year and the year before. Each year we help more.

The Book Drive. Our family is a family of readers. We read nightly, we turn off the TV, electronics, and all the techno garbage that we all hold so dear today. We read aloud to all of our girls as they grew up and we now all take turns reading to Gabby’s little brother. Reading is an escape from the pain, and escape from reality. In the hospital Gabby was afraid to leave her room. She said the world was too big. It was too bright and scary, so we sat in the room and read every day she was there. When we got home we read because she wouldn’t go out or was in too much pain to move. The books let her be the princess with long blonde hair.   Not the little girl ravaged by chemo, the little girl losing clumps of hair, throwing up daily after the dose of chemo she received every morning. Books help these kids escape even if for a minute.

Since we started the book drive, we have raised $46,000 in new books and have donated to 8 different children hospitals. When books are donated to the hospitals the kids who get them keep them. At one time we were told only new books would be accepted to prevent and contamination . These books are constantly needed.

I’m asking you right now to close this page, go to Amazon and order a few books. Have them sent directly to: PO Box 555 Ocean View, DE 19970 or go to the foundation website and make a donation, order a gift card and we will buy the books for you. I ask you to do it now because we all know that when we say “we will do it later” things come up. Take ten minutes right now and give a child fighting cancer 5min, 10 min, or an hour of peace, an hour escape from a nightmare none of us can understand. We are running the drive until July. Help us collect 4,000 new books by then, and that will help us send books to more than 8 children hospitals this year. I’d love to double that number this year!

Someone asked me once how do you think anything you do will make a difference in the fight against pediatric cancer? I told them a story I saw in another teacher’s room. I apologize but I don’t know the author:


One morning a man walked along

A beach covered with thousands of starfish that had washed up during a storm.

Now they lay dying in the sun.

He saw a young girl picking up the starfish one by one and tossing them into the sea.

As he approached her he couldn’t help but ask “Why bother?

There are too many of them.

You won’t make much of a difference.”

She picked up another starfish and tossed it into the water.

Then she turned to the man and said,

“I made a difference to that one.”


Please donate a new book today! Now, It won’t take more than 10 minutes, go to Amazon Smile, choose the Get Well Gabby Foundation as your foundation choice and order a book. By doing it through Amazon Smile, the foundation will get a percentage back for everything ordered and we can use that to order more books. If you would rather, send money or gift card to PO Box 555 Ocean View, DE 19970  so we can purchase more books. Please make a difference even if it’s just one child. Any difference is all the difference that matters!

Believe you can make a difference

Believe that a book can bring a few minutes of no pain

Believe in Gabby

Believe in your children

Believe in you


John (Gabby’s Daddy)


Visit our amazon wish list at:



Comments are closed.