To The Editor:

One year ago, our then-three-year-old daughter Clara became ill and was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. As we approach the anniversary of Clara’s diagnosis, there are a number of things we have found ourselves reflecting upon. And we have sat down so many times to write this letter but have always gotten stuck on the inability of words to convey the depth of gratitude and feeling in our hearts. So please accept this feeble attempt.

To have your precious, three-year-old child diagnosed with leukemia is absolutely devastating. Life changes quickly, completely and forever. This past year has involved extended hospital stays, midnight fever runs to Bangor, and parenting a toddler through a treatment plan that would flatten most adults. It has been a lesson in surrender, acceptance, vulnerability and profound grace.

This past year has highlighted, in countless ways, the strength of this beautiful community we are blessed to call home.

Our mailbox has been filled with notes of encouragement and support. Our family was placed on multiple prayer lists.

An online fundraising page was started for us before we were even discharged from the hospital.

Meals were organized and delivered, our older daughter was cared for by friends without hesitation and lovingly surrounded by the whole Conners-Emerson community.

There were bracelets made and sold in support of Clara.

And perhaps the most heartwarming kindnesses have come from children; the handmade cards offering get-well-soon wishes, chocolate roses sold at a school craft night and two child-run lemonade stands that benefited our family and honored Clara all come to mind.

I honestly could fill this newspaper with stories of the generosity of heart and deed that we have experienced. And all of these kindnesses, both big and small, truly have carried our family through this past year. Please know that.

Clara continues to thrive through her treatment and enjoy life with the zest and spirit of a four-year-old. We were able to spend Christmas Day at home all together as a family. After living through this past year, we could not have received a better gift.

We thank this beautiful community, which has surrounded us the whole way, from the bottom of our hearts.


Donna Hanke, and Rob, Clara and Eliza Levin

Bar Harbor


Robert Levin

Robert Levin

Former reporter Robert Levin covered the people, businesses, governmental and nonprofit agencies of Bar Harbor. [email protected]
Robert Levin

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