Considering the fact that we're in the middle of a global pandemic that is particularly uncontrolled in the U.S., this year's Halloween was certainly unusual. Many families and communities skipped trick-or-treating in favor of alternative fun and festivity. Those who did trick-or-treat often had altered methods, from candy chutes to keep social distance to leaving bags of candy out on a table for the kiddos.
For the Thomas family in Atlanta, Georgia, this Halloween was particularly unusual. Courtney Thomas shared a post on Facebook saying that she had put out a sign on Halloween explaining that their household had a child with cancer, so they wouldn't be giving out candy. Their neighborhood usually gets a lot of trick-or-treaters and she didn't want kids to come to their door and be disappointed.
"Cool costume!" the sign read. "Sorry, no candy, child with cancer. See you next year! Have fun!"
But what Thomas found left beneath the sign left her in tears.
"I can't stop crying
If anyone thought there was no hope in our kids and teens you're wrong. The SOLE purpose of us putting this sign in our yard today was so kids wouldn't run to our door and be disappointed (our neighborhood usually gets 300-400 kids).
I looked on our doorbell camera tonight and saw that kids had been stopping at the sign. T.j. Thomas and I just went outside and found this
The picture doesn't do it justice, it's a LOT and the good stuff even
Seriously... If the parents of anyone who did this sees this, PLEASE tell them how much it means to us and our kiddos. On the best candy night of the year kids freely and generously shared with strangers and showed so much love and kindness. So amazing "
Oh, man. Instead of just walking away from a house where they weren't going to get any candy, kids and teens left pieces of their own Halloween candy stash for the family. That's just beautifully sigh-worthy.
People loved the post, which has been shared more than 367,000 times in two days. Thousands of comments have poured in as well, with people offering prayers and good wishes to the Thomas family as well as gratitude for sharing a story that highlights the good in people.
Thomas also shared information about childhood cancer with links to organizations and fundraising efforts people can support:
"Childhood cancer is something we wish no family ever had to endure, but there is so much love, hope, and support!
If anyone feels led to support financially, this is the link to post directly to Children's Healthcare of AtlantaAflac Cancer & Blood Disorders Center, https://give.choa.org/.../Donation2;jsessionid=00000000...
Also, these are 2 AMAZING groups we know of and are so thankful for (they provide meals weekly for families inpatient, provide family emergency funds, raise awareness and fundraise for pediatric specific cancer research, and so much more!):
According to the American Childhood Cancer Organization, an estimated 15,970 kids ages 0 to 19 are diagnosed with cancer each year in the U.S. Cancer is a diagnosis no parent or child wants to receive, but it's especially worrisome during our novel virus pandemic, as it puts kids at higher risk of developing complications if they come down with COVID-19. The Thomas family was wise to take extra precautions to keep their child safe, and to see the kids of the community spontaneously support them by volunteering some of their own candy stash—even the good stuff—is heartening to see.
While there is plenty to challenge our faith in humanity right now, there are also countless stories like this one that illustrate the generosity and kindness ordinary people can—and so often do—offer one another. Thank you, Thomas family, for the timely reminder.
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