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The power of social media never ceases to amaze me. Yes, there are downfalls and yes it has changed the world we live in sometimes not for the best, however without it I would never have found myself in the Thompsons family's beautiful home on a snowy Friday evening? I can't quite remember how I began to follow Sarah Thompson's blog Coffee, Crayons, Cancer, however, the moment I read her first post her family were on my mind on a constant basis.
I will let you all click on the link above and read Sarah's blog for yourselves. My words could never tell their story. All I can say is every time I saw a picture on social media or read another blog post I yearned to give the whole family a big hug and tell them they were in my prayers at all times. I always assumed I would be a virtual supporter of their story and never thought I would be able to tell them just how much their story has affected us all.
That was until I met Niamh Taylor from Digital Twenty Four. What a woman! Niamh and I also met through social media and she is, without doubt, one of the best in her game when it comes to Digital Marketing. She is also one of the strongest, determined and generous women I know with the softest heart.
Niamh also felt how I did about the Thompson's family however she was determined not to be a spectator in this story and instead she used her many contacts in the world of business (many of whom she works with through social media) to reach out and ask for a special gift for Sarah and her Family this Christmas. Due to Niamhs appeal, she collected gifts from almost twenty businesses and she asked if I would accompany her on the journey to Randalstown to meet them. Of course, I was so happy to go with her and I recorded my thoughts just before she arrived to meet me. The snow was not going to stop her achieve her goals for this family.
When we arrived Sarah met us at the door and the hug she gave us was one of strength and warmth like I have never felt before. The first thing that struck both Niamh and I was just how young she and Paul looked.
How can a couple so young have had to endure so much? For some reason, though from the moment we entered their fabulous home the reason why we were there left us and we chatted and drank tea and ate buns like we were all old friends
We met little Alfie straight away while Nate had his afternoon nap and we were so glad to get to spend time with him. His little dimples melted my heart and I couldn't help but wish I had brought Pearse to meet him as I know he would have been much better at playing Alfies new Peppa Pig aeroplane than me.
While we all chatted and laughed we heard Nate stir from his sleep. The minute I saw him I felt overwhelmed with relief that he looked like any other 19 month old except he has lost his hair due to the chemotherapy. He was sturdy strong and on the move at all times. Exactly like my own little boys. This battle was not going to stop him and as Niamh and I cautiously tried to introduce ourselves to him he welcomed us with both arms and we again forgot why we were there and felt like we were visiting our friends.
As I held Nate on my knee I couldn't help but give him a big kiss even though I had only met him. I'm, sure he was thinking who is this mad woman I have only just met kissing me.
As he bounced on my knee Niamh distributed all of the gifts to the family many of which she gifted herself and as I watched Sarah fill up with tears and Paul become speechless I couldn't help but become emotional also. Gerard always says I would cry at the drop of a hat but this was a family who had faced their biggest fear yet were the strongest unit I have ever seen.
As the snow continued to fall and the daylight started to drop Niamh and I knew we had to say our goodbyes. If we were snowed in I don't think either of us would have minded. We could have cracked open the wine and had lots more laughs but that's maybe for another time.
As I look at the picture of them all together on their porch waving us goodbye I wish I could give them one more hug just to say we were so glad we came and we will never forget that lovely afternoon we all spent together. I know that we will always stay in touch and they will always be in our prayers.
And there you have it. None of the above would have happened had it not been for social media. Above there are five people who have now had an impact on my life due to seeing a social media post. Niamh, Sarah, Paul, Alfie and Nate.
I ask you all to follow Sarah on instagram and become inspired by a strong, passionate determined woman who is not letting cancer control her family.