- Joshua Cantrell - Joshua Cantrell - Chance Harman - Kassidy Foster

For many of you this is the third edition of our newsletter.

In this edition, you’ll find articles from Brian Harman and the Fosters. Also included in this edition is special poem that was read and dedicated to Chance and Kassidy. Laura Cantrell has also contributed with news of a new CD in memory of Joshua.

Thank you for your loyalty!

In This Edition

Message from the Teammates

SameFight Future

Events in the Community
The Winter Switch
Building a Quilt of Love

Dedication Poem

From the Harmans
The Chance Harman Classic

From the Fosters
Thank You

From the Cantrells
Thank You
Joshua's Journey
Where the Journey Leads Next...
Singing for Joshua

Pat Vaughn, Teammate

Have you considered the fact that you, as our loyal website visitor, are a statistic? I didn’t realize just how impressive the statistics were until I began researching this article.

The teammates at SameFight want to say THANK YOU for your continued support. As we have said many times, the families appreciate your interest, concern and support more than they can ever say. We also want to mention how much encouragement the well wishes bring. Our team checks the well wishes everyday, so keep them coming.

Website Statistics as of September 26, 2007

177,526 Unique Visitors – these are folks like you and I that check the website. There’s this really cool gizmo (couldn’t think of a more technical term) that knows your IP address. It counts the number of different IP addresses that visit the site.

1,871,563 Pages Visited – WOW! We must be doing something interesting to have you hanging around.

100 Referral Sites – These are other websites that reference SameFight or one of ‘Our Kids’ and they provide a link to our website. They range from Caring Bridges, The Roanoke Times, VAtechniques to Facepages. Now I admit, that after counting 100 my eyes went cross and I just guessed, but rest assured there were plenty more.

SameFight Future
Pat Vaughn, Teammate

The teammates recently met with Sheriff Shannon Zeman, Commonwealth Attorney Gordon Hannett and his assistant Jessica Thomas to discuss the future of SameFight. Shannon and Gordon are both on the Board for Medical Charities of Floyd County, Inc. our sponsoring non-profit organization. I think we have amazed and surprised them all! There has never been any organization or charity in Floyd or even the NRV or state such as SameFight and no one could have imagined God’s mercy and grace we have experienced. What a blessing! Realizing that each of these families have experienced a terrible loss, we are so thankful that in some way with the love and help of all our SameFight visitors, teammates and volunteers we were available to support them financially, emotionally and spiritually during their fight. Throughout the country there are many families going through similar situations. They may benefit from a church fundraiser or a yard sale or maybe even a jar in a convenience store that would provide funds to assist in the financial burden. I don’t know about you, but I don’t look at those jars the same. God has blessed SameFight beyond all of our imaginations. We are pleased to say that SameFight is strong and will continue to support families in Floyd County whose children are battling cancer. It is an unfortunate inevitability that there will be another child in Floyd County, VA that will battle cancer. It may be next week, next month or even next year. When that family needs us, we will be here!

The Fosters

As things have calmed down some and we are trying to get to what we now will have to get used to as "normal" we stop to think about everyone that has been there for us over the past several months.

It is amazing the support we have received from family, co-workers, friends and even strangers. We cannot begin to think of how many cards and gifts Kassidy received. Words cannot even begin to thank everyone. We wanted to send Thank You cards to people but we don't even know where to begin. So we hope everyone will read this and know we are so thankful for everything and everyone.

All the times that Kassidy was in the hospital, no matter what the Doctors, nurses or anyone did for her (even needle sticks and Chemo!) she would always say "thank you very much".  She didn't let anyone leave her room without thanking them. So we want to say to everyone also........THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!

Travis Cantrell

As Joshua’s parents, Laura and I would like to again thank everyone for their continued support and prayers. We understand that Joshua has touched and continues to touch the lives of so many people around us. Our hope is that he will always continue to touch people’s hearts because he is forever in our hearts and minds each and every day.

As a result, Laura and I will attempt to help the community and the children of our community for many years to come. Although we do not yet know exactly how to do that we have put together several ideas that we will follow through in Joshua’s name. SameFight has been such a huge part of our lives and it will continue to be. Through SameFight we hope to help the children and our community and always keep Joshua in our thoughts while we do so.

We continue to say thank you with our words and we will hopefully soon say thank you in other ways that will not only benefit others but will also honor my best friend, our oldest son, Joshua Alan Cantrell.

Joshua’s Journey
Laura Cantrell

I can still remember the day in mid-December 2006 when we received the news that Chance Harman, the son of our friends, Brian and Desirae, had been diagnosed with a brain tumor. A darkness came over our small community of Floyd, Virginia that day as the word spread. The following day I found out that the son of another good friend of mine from Colorado had been diagnosed with leukemia. I held my own boys tightly that night and asked myself many difficult questions about what I would feel like if something ever happened to one of my two precious children.

Nevertheless, my husband and I were not prepared for the news that we received on December 28th when we wound up in the Emergency Room with our oldest son, Joshua, who was dehydrated and could not keep any food down. What we thought was a virus turned out to be a brain tumor.

From Christmas Eve to New Year’s Eve, our world came crashing down as Joshua’s diagnosis went from virus to brain tumor to cancerous brain tumor. By the following week, we learned that the cancer was a very aggressive type called antiplastic medullablastoma. The surgery, performed at Roanoke Memorial Hospital had removed most of the tumor, but we learned that it would need to be treated as aggressively as it was apt to spread.

We chose to take Joshua to Duke University for his treatments, where Chance would also be treated for his tumor of a slightly different but also very aggressive variety. Though Joshua received wonderful care and though no child could have received more prayers, we ultimately found that God’s will was not for Joshua to return to his home in Floyd, but instead to his home in heaven on February 26, 2007.

A few days after I returned to work, a colleague informed me that a young girl in another district of our county had learned there was a possibility she had bone cancer. This is how we came to know the Foster family.

We call it a journey because we are still traveling; trying to make sense of it all. The one thing, however, that is abundantly clear is that God provided us with each other and with brothers and sisters in Christ along the way who have helped us deal with these tragedies. We’ll never get an explanation for the things that have happened in this life, but our “journey” and how it has coincided with the journeys of other families we know and love can best be explained by the following verse:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

2 Corinthians 1: 3-4

Where the Journey Leads Next…
Laura Cantrell

It is difficult to explain, in short, what our journey has involved…  We have had many important, life-changing experiences over the past nine months. If you have ever looked at the SameFight website and have seen the angel wings on the picture of our beautiful son, Joshua, then you know that our oldest child now resides in heaven instead of here on Earth with us. We are hopeful and insistent, however, that the dramatic change in our lives not be limited to devastating change. This journey, this experience means more, and we have done lots of praying about where we should let it take us next.

What may not be evident by looking at our situation at face-value is that we consider ourselves to be better people as a result of being the parents of this child; that we lead better lives as a result of the horrible, yet remarkable things that have happened to us this year. And yes, these feelings are the result of a faith that is the single reason why we can endure this life with an understanding smile on our faces.

Did I say “understanding?”…  That may be presumptuous—after all, who among us mortals really has a clue about the “bigger plan” we so often hear folks speak of? No, I’m not smart enough to understand, but God’s grace has allowed me just enough insight to be able to see that a plan exists. Anyone who has followed our story cannot deny that a greater hand has been involved than mere coincidence.

What I have prayed hard to figure out recently is where do we go from here? Putting the whole thing behind us is probably what many expect us to want to do. That is partly so. However, I have had a strong feeling in my heart that maybe that’s not the right thing, and here is why:

In the midst of our suffering, you have heard us say that we have received blessings. Blessings have showered our lives in equal quantities to the hardships because people have made us feel like this event—however painful for us—has contributed to a greater good within our community for a brief moment in time. Overwhelmingly, the thing that we have heard from the most people—of all ages and from many, many different walks of life—is that SameFight “brought the community together.” Word-for-word, I have heard this over and over since the whole thing began.

An idea that we got more recently would involve expanding the horizons even more. Just as the folks who started SameFight saw and responded to a need in our families, we wish to do the same. In particular, we hope to be able to honor Joshua by contributing to causes that will benefit an important population in our community—the young people. We have been so touched by their compassion that we want very badly to express our appreciation in ways that will enrich their lives. Though we do not have all the answers as to how we can do this right now, we are putting much thought and prayer into it. Please pray with us that we will find the answers to these questions that are on our hearts, and offer us suggestions if you feel so compelled. Thank you so much, and we hope to continue fighting with you for a good cause in the continuation of this undeniably God-led journey!

The Chance Harman Classic
Brian Harman with Pat Vaughn

Desirae and I thought long and hard as to how to begin a memorial fund for our son. He loved so many activities, it was difficult to decide what to do first. We have several plans and the first event to be held is an activity that he dearly loved, basketball. We’ve titled the event The Chance Harman Classic. It will be a series of basketball games held at the FCHS on December 15th beginning at 2pm. A benefit meal is being planned following the game and concessions will be available during the day. We have worked with Floyd Cares, a sister non-profit organization and have arranged for the proceeds to benefit a student at Floyd County High School in the form of a scholarship and a special donation to the American Cancer Society. We are looking for this to be a huge event. We have some really good games planned that day.

The teams that will be involved will be:
Glenvar High School vs. Christiansburg High School
Giles County High School vs. Graham High School
Radford High School vs. Blacksburg High School
Floyd County High School vs. Patrick County High School

This will be a great experience and more information will be available soon. Check the website for more details. Make plans to join us on December 15th to watch some good basketball and support a good cause.

The Winter Switch
Pat Vaughn, Teammate

Just a reminder, it’s that time of year! You know what I mean. It’s the time of year when you begin to pull out the winter clothes and put away the summer clothes. So, you’re cleaning out the closet and the basement and you find all this stuff. It’s great stuff; it’s just stuff you don’t need. Well guess what? We need it and we need your help! We are collecting now for a BIG Yard Sale in the spring. If you have a donation, please email us at Be sure to include the word ‘Yardsale’ in the subject line. We’ll contact you and arrange a place to pickup.

Want to hold your own event to help out SameFight? Here are just a few ideas.

  • Have a yard / bake sale.
  • Hold a spaghetti dinner.
  • Put on a play and charge tickets and serve a meal.
  • Hold a car wash.
  • Play ball!
  • Sponsor a competition.
  • Go for a fun run.
  • Get the kids involved.
  • Send it to us to sell on eBay.
  • …… will be glad to help with creating advertising, adding the event on the website, offering prizes, etc. There are lots of ways to raise money for charity that are simple and have proven success. Future events are being planned and we need to know as soon as possible so that we can advertise. Please contact us today if you need help with flyers, ticket sales or whatever. 

Building a Quilt of Love
Pat Vaughn, Teammate

We are very excited! The precious ladies of the Slate Mountain Church, and you know it’s the ladies and not the gents, are creating quilts in memory of ‘Our Kids.’ What a beautiful way to reflect their lives. When I was a child, my Grandma had made several afghans and quilts for us. I didn’t much like the way the tacking thread tickled my nose when I was trying to sleep and the afghan always seemed too heavy. Those complaints are part of the memory, but looking back now I believe it was more the fact that there was a nap involved. What I would do now to take a nap with those quilts and afghans one more time. (Heck, just the nap would be okay with me!)

The quilts will be auctioned off at a special spring event; date to be determined. “High Noon” will perform their annual concert and a silent auction will be held as well.

WE NEED QUILT 12" x 12" SQUARES! If you would like to donate quilt squares, please contact Lisa Mauck at or Rhonda Burnette at .

Squares can be shipped to:

Lisa Mauk
625 Moore Road NE
Floyd, VA 24091

Rhonda Burnette
3588 Black Ridge Road
Floyd, VA 24091

Dedication Poem
Pat Vaughn, Teammate

The following poem was read at Chance’s celebration and at Kassidy’s balloon release and dedication.

I’m an Angel Now
Please light the way and lead me, Lord;

Please help to heal my yesterday and face each new tomorrow. 

It was then I heard his gentle voice and felt his presence near, 

How I wanted to hold him as I cried another tear. 

He said, "Mommy, I'm an angel now, my spirit will be free, 

I'm an angel now in Heaven so please don't cry for me. 

I was chosen by our Lord above and now I'm in His care, 

When you need me, look inside your heart, I promise to be there. 

No one can ever take away our bond with one another, 

For I'll always be your precious child as you will always be my mother. 

So if you cannot find your way or the road to home seems far, 

Just look up to the heavens and I'll be your guiding star." 

He said, "Mommy, I'm an angel now, my spirit will be free, 

I'm an angel now in Heaven--no need to cry for me. 

Author Unknown

Singing For Joshua
Laura Cantrell

I often believe God speaks to me through music, which is why I get very excited to share music with others, whether it be sharing a CD, writing about lyrics, or actually singing for an audience. The latter is one that I have tended to shy away from in recent years. But when my great-grandmother passed away nearly two years ago, I was invited by my father and his cousins to participate in the music for her funeral. It was an honor to do so, and though I had to postpone my flight back to our home in Colorado Springs from our Thanksgiving visit, making one of two trips alone with Joshua and A.J., I did that very willingly.

I take great satisfaction in the knowledge that, not only are Joshua and his Great-great Grandmother Elree in heaven together now, but I also got to witness their meeting while they were each still here.  While she was still in his recent memory, I took the opportunity to let Joshua join me for rehearsals for her music, which he enjoyed immensely. It was from that experience that he developed his love for the Christmas hymn, "Oh, Beautiful Star of Bethlehem." He called that "Nana and Pa's Song" because he recalled them singing it.

Though Joshua's services were in February, we asked the congregation to sing this hymn that he loved so much. We were also fortunate enough to have the same voices that Joshua heard in those rehearsals-- including my own, which would have been too faint that day to produce such a joyful sound-- singing "No Tears in Heaven." As it happened, months after Grandma Elree's funeral, our family had decided to record the songs we did for her. I am both disappointed and grateful that we were able to use some of the same music for Joshua's.

Yesterday, we gathered at Mark Hodges' studio to record a sophomore album :). We had rehearsed, but somehow I was concerned that these songs would not turn out as effective as the first CD did. Something happened when we got in the recording booth, though, and I really felt every lyric pouring out as if God intended those words just for me and my life. And the notes... Well, they were for Joshua. Everytime I open my mouth to sing, I imagine that some celestial telephone is carrying the sound of my voice straight to my baby in heaven. I don't know that it's not, in fact.

Singing on these CD's has been one of those little things God has done in my life to prepare me for and help me cope with days to come. Until we did the first CD, I had never paid attention to the words of "It is Well With My Soul," let alone hung onto every word to get me through my days, such as I did while Joshua was sick. Now, I have a new and very enthusiastic appreciation for a song that we recorded yesterday: "When we all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be!  When we all see Jesus, we'll sing and shout the victory!"

(That last part about victory is for you too, Chance!)
First published on the website on September 10, 2007

c/o CW Harman & Son, 2894 Floyd Hwy S, Floyd, VA 24091 •
© Copyright 2007