Death of a Superhero

A Family's Story about Courage, Bravery and the Defining Moments of LOVE

Our sweet, lil' baby love lost his battle to AML Leukemia on March 8, 2010. We fought long, hard and very aggressively for 2.5 years, only to have his cancer come back for the fourth time to finally take his life. He was only 3 years old.

This entire blog is about Hunter's amazing journey. It's about his life and his love......his determination and his courage.......his absolutely, brilliant personality, and the affect he's had on people all over the world.

He's left an unimaginable footprint on this earth and has changed the lives of thousands of individuals. People who didn't realize how precious life was, now live it with extreme gratefulness. People who took every minute they get to spend with their children for granted, now savor every last second. And people who weren't quite sure what love is all about, now love deeper, love stronger and love with every ounce of their soul.

People all around the world have shared their love, their well wishes, their prayers and their inspiration, and we could have NEVER achieved as much as we did without them. We are humbled by their generosity & their true friendships & are forever grateful for every last person that has come into our lives through our experience with Hunter. He was our precious baby love who we loved and cherished with all our hearts and we are forever crushed and terribly, broken-hearted.

Dance in the clouds baby cakes. Mom & dad are watching proudly & you will remain so very close to our hearts for all of eternity.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Our lil' Birthday Boy

HAPPY BIRTHDAY my sweet lil' prince pie - our love for you runs so incredibly deep. Your dad and I are holding on to as many memories as possible and there will always, ALWAYS be a special place in our life for you. I won't let you go. I won't ever, ever, ever let you go. As painful as it is to accept the fact that you are not here for us to smooch from head to toe......we thank our lucky stars that you graced us with your amazing presence and taught us how to live; even when we thought every last bit of our being had given in. You kept us laughing; even when our smiles seemed lost and forgotten. And you've fully shown us how to love.....even though we've been left with a broken heart.

You were so easy to love........sweet dreams baby.


Hi my sweet lil' love..........i miss you.....i miss you......I miss you.........I miss incredibly much. I am going to do my best to be strong and keep it together as I write you - but already, my face has an ocean of tears just streaming down it, collecting big, big puddles in my lap. The thought of actually seeing you and talking to you and holding you, oh goodness, it would be an absolute dream come true for me.

oh love.....I am still so incredibly devastated. I can't even think right now. My hands are shaking, my tears won't stop, my breath is gone. You not being here has shattered us. You were magical. Truly, truly magical and that just stops your dad and I dead in our tracks some days.

You have brought out such beauty in so many people - myself, your father and your lil' brother, Ryder, included. That magnificent sparkle that was so extremely bright while you where here - is still shining ever so lovely. I feel it within myself, and it's expressed in the love your dad and I have for each other, and the love that we have for Ryder. Ryder is the magnificent recipient of so much love and affection......and he just BEAMS every single day because of what your dad and I discovered in ourselves through you. You've created this love pocket in us that is just absolutely explosive. You still continue to bring out the best in us........that just warms my heart.

You would have been the most perfect older brother. Oh man - I could only IMAGINE how completely wonderful it would be if you were here. Ryder would have LOVED you. Absolutely, most definitely LOVED you. You would have been the coolest thing since sliced bread. You would have been so, so fun for him to follow around and tug on and watch and learn courageous and loving. I honestly can't wait for the day when Ryder fully understands who you are and how important you are to the family. He's only 13 months right he's got a few months. He gets some things right now like "going outside" and "snack".....but not quite everything just yet. But soon. Soon, he'll get the full story of our lil' hero - Iron Hunter and how truly magnificent your lil' being really was....and still is. :)

Here's Ryder trying on your Lightning McQueen hat and shoes. He clopped around the house in those for quite awhile....he's a big fan.

Here he is wearing your Iron Hunter t-shirt. We all sport those QUITE often. They are super, super cozy and I'm just so proud of what is were a real "Super Hero"......I love that.

You two look a lot alike - you can definitely tell you're brothers. Here is a collage that I put together of the two of you at 8 1/2 months.

Ryder loves, loves.....LOVES music. He's got a pretty fancy wiggle and also threw down some hip lil' side steps recently. Very surprised he pulled some of those moves out. You must have done a lil' work on him somehow. He's pretty cool. Plus he's a sweetie two together would have just taken turns melting my heart.

You both also have a very strong, cool confidence about you. So fun to watch and hang out with you guys. Always seem to have something going on.

Watching Ryder grow is reminding us of so many incredible moments we had with you. It's fun to compare and see the similarities as well as the differences. And thank goodness we have as many videos of you as we do! We feel so completely fortunate to have that many. Your personality just JUMPS right off the screen in every one and I just love, love, love watching you. They allow me to fully remember your giggle and your sweet, sweet ways of expressing yourself and all the fun we really did have.......despite all of our challenges. I don't think there was a day that went by that we didn't find something to giggle about........

People from all over the world still continue to find your story and send us messages. They all begin with such wonderful comments about you and your beautiful energy and strength and courage. They talk about how many times throughout their day that they think of you, and how much you've inspired them. Of course they talk about what a great lil' dancer you were.....such FANTASTIC moves. I could beat music on pots and pans for you all day long. Oh you just stole my heart. I miss your hugs. Oh how I miss your hugs baby love.

A year and a half now that you've been gone and I still sleep with "Henwy" under my pillow....I still have a candle constantly lit for you......makes me feel like there is a happy, lil' spot of love-light continuing to just brighten up the room. I am never without my Hunter still gets smooched every night when I take it off and every morning when I put it on. There are beautiful images up of you pretty much everywhere - living room, family room, kitchen, dining room, our room, Ryder's room, my office, my closet.......and there isn't a second that passes that I don't consider ourselves lucky to have had such an amazing lil' boy in our lives.

Your Angel Anniversary was a very special day for us. Your dad and I took Ryder and we went back to our special lil' spot right next to the room we stayed in with you at Cannon Beach. We've been back there a few times's a pretty amazing spot for us. As soon as my feet hit the sand I feel you......I will never, ever, ever forget that day on the beach. A day filled with such hope and love and happiness.........I enjoy remembering days and moments like the ones we had on that special day. That whole trip was amazing.

Here you are walking in the sand........oh we had so much fun that day. You were walking around everywhere and I was getting such a kick out of finally having to chase you around! You gave me a run for my money that day. :)

Here we are below on your Angel Anniversary, a little over a year later.....walking in the sand......just like you. Even Ryder was doing it in Dad's Kangaroo pouch.

And of course "Henwy" had to get in the sand. Even when we travel he comes and sleeps under my pillow. He likes it there. I'm still waiting for you to come get him in my dreams. :)

OH and I can't forget to tell you that we also saw this BEAUTIFUL rainbow right as we hit the clearing to the water. was so, so cool love.

Geeeez.......and one more thing - we did our first Healing Hunter Foundation Toy Drive on your Angel Anniversary and brought up over $5,000 worth of toys to the kids at Doernbechers, including an iPod Touch, a super fast big wheel, two laptop computers and OF COURSE - a kick-BUTT Lightning McQueen Tricycle that's got your name on it so everyone knows to speed around the hallways with lots of Lightning love.

So your foundation that we started on your behalf has been just absolutely wonderful. Aside from the toy drive we did on your Angel Anniversary we also stopped by on Easter and delivered tons of delicious goodies and yummy cupcakes - which is what initiated the whole start of "Lightning Cupcakes"......also in your honor of course. With all the love and support out there for just TOOK OFF! And a lil' bit of Hunter love goes into every cupcake. So now you are in my heart, my thoughts, my smiles and my tummy often. I see your beautiful face constantly throughout my days and most times it makes me think super sweet thoughts. I try my hardest to think of you at your very best, having just the coolest time of your life.....I'm glad you had so many. It gives me lots of things to pull from. Man you were cool.

Below is the Easter Delivery to Doernbechers on behalf of the Healing Hunter Foundation!

Oh and I almost forgot to tell you the COOLEST thing! You'll really like this.......we are delivering iPods to all the lil' warriors battling cancer up at Doernbechers on your birthday for the Healing Hunter iPod Birthday Bash that we created. We thought you'd get a kick out of giving such thoughtful, useful and amazing gifts that the kiddos can use while they are going through all their treatments. Several extremely generous and very loving individuals donated one to each kid fighting cancer in your honor. Pretty neat I'll have to say. You bring sweetness to the surface in lots and lots of people. Still continuing to make me proud. Aaaaahhhhh.......

Below are the iPods that were donated and then the AWESOME packaging we created for them!!


Life seems to be one brilliant, sequence of events after another my lil’ love. And the time we had with you was nothing short of spectacular. 

This magical, whirlwind of love that seems to corral around you and your legacy is just simply amazing. I’m sitting here in a sweet, puddle of tears as I realize the size of the impact you’ve had on our life and so many others.

Your dazzling light, your love, your spirit…your joy, your giggle and your dynamite wiggle
continue to get delightfully, packaged up and delivered to the warriors that are still here fighting.

Our special lil’ packages that we deliver are always bursting with hope and smiles and lets these brave kiddos know that we are all standing behind them…supporting them, encouraging them and constantly cheering them on.

Thank you for continuing to be such a powerful force of love.

You are my Superhero.

Keep us strong, sugar pie.

LOVE you Bean!!!! XXOO


Alexandra said...

Face in hands sobbing here.

That beautiful boy.

I am so sorry. To see this hurts as much as it did to follow your story last year.

Ryder could be Hunter.

I know he's not, but, dang..if they don't look EXACTLY like the same child

Lenore said...

Andrea Rivas Schmitt-
Happy Birthday little Hunter. Kisses up to you baby... we feel your kisses down to us too.

Eva Wright Mania -
XO All the way up to where you warm all of our hearts this day and everyday XO

Jason Fox - God bless

Priscilla Tallman -
Lots of love to you on this very special day! Thank you for being a part of our lives! xoxo.

Natalia Florencio -
hunter I was thinking of you today! happy birthday little man

Nicola Kosciuk-Galassi -
Hi LoveButton - we miss you and think of you oh so often. Your light shines on in our hearts every day. Blowing kisses up to heaven xoxo

Suzanne M. Cross Davis -

Hilde Burm -
Happy Birthday Angel Hunter ! Have fun there ! Keep up the good work through your mom and dad, you are amazing ! I blow a lot of kisses up to you ! ♥♥♥

Chris Schmitt
Happy Birthday Hunter.

Brandi Gilpatrick
Happy Birthday sweet little angel!♥

Tracy Kelleher
Happy Birthday Hunter!

Cindy Young
You are always on my mind. Your name is written on my heart. Sending lots of love and hugs to you on your special day. XOXO

Robin Fuqua
Miss you lil' man. Happy Birthday! xoxox

Annie Shaughnessy Dauer
Happy Birthday Hunter! May God continue to protect and bless you.

Kristen Davis
So many people are doing so many amazing things because of how AWESOME you ARE!!! Hope you are having an awesome dance party right now in heaven... Happy Birthday lil Rock star... hope you got my kissies that I blew up to you today! XOXOXO

Molly Culver
Happy Birthday Hunter.. We love you! Dance all night!!!

Emily Dodd
Happy birthday to the beautiful, amazing and all-around awesome angel Hunter! You have seriously changed my life, little man. It just blows my mind how you've made this world so much more full of love, for so many people. I will be running marathons to celebrate your awesomeness for years to come!

Kellie Jividen Olsen
Happy Birthday Hunter!!!!

Naoko Kawaguchi
happy birthday to angel hunter!!

Cher Ferreyra
Happy Birthday my favorite little man.. Everyday I see your face on my mirror & I think about your face when you would laugh at me! It makes me smile, thank you. I love you buddy!!!!

Tom Galassi
Happy Birthday Angel Hunter.

Alexandria Strong Useted
Many Blessings in heaven little man! ♥

Lou Ornelas
Bittersweet BiDee Wishes little buddy! 5 years ago today you brought new light to the lives of so many. And ever since then you inspire everyone whose life you continue touch. You are in my heart & with me on every ride! Love Always,

Paul Johnson

Karrie Danhof Hendrick
Your light has inspired many but no one more than your mom, dad and Ryder. They have been doing some awe inspiring things in honor of you. Happy Birthday, Angel Hunter!

Nicholas Davis
Been thinking of you all week. Miss you. Happy birthday kid.

Tami Sullivan
Happy birthday sweet boy! You are always loved and always remembered!

Betty White Struble
Happy Birthday Angel Hunter!! I was telling your mom a while back that I saw you in a dream I had and it was so nice to finally meet you! You are such a brave and strong little boy! I hope you are enjoying your Birthday in Heaven with all of the other angels! Your spirit lives on in our hearts and you have been an inspiration to so many people!! Sending love to your mom, dad and baby brother Ryder!

Lynette EgyptianGoddess Cardinalli
Happy Birthday Angel Hunter!

Nicole Lindstrom
happy birthday sweet boy!!

Lenore said...

Melly Cullen
happy birthday, sweet boy♥

Marc Comstock
Much love little warrior.

Stefani Sucic
smooches smooches smooches

Randi Tucker
Happy Birthday Sweet Boy!!!!!

Brenda Vega
Happy Birthday Sweet Little Angel!!

Heather Stepp McCormick
Happy Birthday, Hunter!

Bev Uipi
Happy birthday, angel! ♥

Tammi Swanson
Happy Happy Birthday, Hunter...You certainly made a difference in the world....Thinking of you today!

Crystal Mosier
Happy Birthday, Sweet Angel!! ♥

Amy Ferber
Happiest Birthday Hunter...your precious memory is always in our hearts!

Liza Van Arsdale-Mitchell
Happy Birthday, Angel Hunter! I continue to be amazed and inspired by you. You are loved!

Brande Jackson
Happy birthday Hunter - thinking of you today!

Anastasia Welch
Happy Birthday Hunter...thinking of you so much ♥

Matt Nolan
think of you all the time, little man. Thinking of you especially today.

Trish Dumana Ying
Happy Birthday Angel Hunter! Your story has made a difference in a lot of lives. And I thank you and your mom and dad for courage and strength and the love that was shown for everyone to witness. Fly high lil angel and pls watch over my lil angel Chayse.

Laurie Baker Sienko
Sweet angel, Hunter. I've learned so much from you and your family. You are such a precious gift. Happy, happy, day. May your strong, joyful, light continue to shine, always and forever.

Katie Drake
Happy Birthday Hunter. Enjoy your special day. Sending hugs and lots of love to you and your Mom and Dad and brother. xxx

Terry Robertson Ince
Wishing love to you today, Hunter... Kisses to your Mom and Dad, and Ryder, too!

Raina O'Hare
peace and love today little one... wish you were here. I hope you lighten a lot of hearts today at the hospital! xoxo

Hadley Fried
Peace, Angel.

Alexis Harte
Happy Birthday Little Guy...You are firmly in our thoughts

Wendy Parker
My sweet angel Hunter! Sending you so much love to heaven and thinking of you always. Happy Birthday Sweet Love! xoxooxoxox

Emily Perry-Tresser
I bet there is quite a party going on, up there, for you!!
I will be listening for the tap tap tapping of your dancing feet. I know you will be with all of the kids at the hospital today. Give your mom,dad and Ryder lots of sweet kisses. < I know you will>. I love you so very much Hunter. Happy Birthday sweet Angel.

Anna Perry
Happy birthday Angel Hunter, we love you and love how your parents and brother and all the stars around you glitter with love at the mention of your name. Rock on little one, because you are one major rockstar in these parts!! xoxoxoxo+++++

Aja Cooper
Happy birthday Angel Hunter!

Leahanna Reid
Enjoy your birthday party in Heaven Hunter Zen Thawley!!! Happy Birthday!!!

Lenore said...

Happy Birthday Sunshine :) I'm up right now baking cupcakes to take in today to Doernbechers........I'm using our Lightning McQueen cupcake cups and they're making me smile pretty big right now.

You are such a sweet love, and you and your beautiful energy are going to deliver absolute sweetness today....goes hand-in-hand with Lightning Cupcakes. i love you i love you i love you i love you i love you i love you.

My love for you is never will just go on forever and ever and ever and ever.....tee hee.

Shine on Baby Love......xoxo mom, dad and your lil' brother, ryder

Lenore said...

Rachel Roberge
so beautiful lenore - a mother's love is infinite and forever - happy birthday to your angel hunter. sounds like today's batch of cupcakes will be some of the best ever.

Chalese Thill
Happy birthday sweet boy! We miss you! Xoxo

Sheri Macauley
Happy Birthday sweet one your forever and always alive in our hearts

Tera Torres
Happy Birthday Angel Hunter!

April Esposito
Happy Birthday, sweet Hunter!

Matt Storm
Happy birthday ANGEL!!!

Lenore said...

Rosemary Schieble Cortinaz
HAPPY BIRTHDAY... I remember your video of your wonderful dance!!! HUGS TO YOUR FAMILY!!

Kaydensmom Stokes
Happy Birthday little Angel!

Meghr Margossian
happy bday beautiful!!!!!!!!!! I'll always remember your giggle ♥

Tammy Muffett Bottemiller
Happy Birthday sweet angel boy! I love watching video's of you! You make me smile!

Kathleen McAuley
Happy Birthday Angel Hunter!!!

DC Coleman Pincus
happy birthday and many more.

Mariela M. Camara
Happy Birthday Little will always be in our hearts.xxxxxxxx

Laurie Delma
Happy Birthday, "Lil Angel" ! XO

Kay Frederick
You touched a heart all the way over in Huntsville, Alabama...that is pretty good I must say!! Happy Birthday & Thanks for touching hearts everywhere!

Jonathan Cordell

Allyson Levine
Happppy birthday beautiful boy! Sending you so much love up above! xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

Jodi Fung
You have made the world a better place for so many... Your birth will always be remembered and your impact profound! Happy Birthday!

Terrilyn Delnick
Just seeing your face makes the world a better place...Mommy will make sure it is a better place...Happy Birthday, darling boy ♥

Kristine Hendershot
Happy Birthday Sweet Angel Hunter!

Mara Posa Tripi
Happy Birthday in Heaven,sweet Hunter...we all wish you were here for your 5th....but I'm sure you are so so proud of your Mom and Dad...for making sure everyone knows how special you are...putting smiles on kids faces!....XXXX I'm sure you are dancing away in heaven...XXXXXOOOO

Tammy Lee Dickson
hApPy bIrThDaY hUnTeR ;) ♥♥♥

Valerie Gogol
Happy 5th Birthday Hunter Zen McQueen!!! :)

Cathy Donovan Holt
Thank you for forever changing my heart and making me a better Mommy. Happy Birthday Sweet Hunter. We miss you....xoxooxox

Lenore said...

Priscilla Kobbe
Missing your smile and thinking of you often. Love & Hugs

Annie Shaughnessy Dauer
Thinking of you this week Hunter! xoxo

Amy said...

Happy Birthday Hunter! I think of you often even though I never met you.

As my son's birthday approaches, I am reminded again today how lucky I am. Thank you.

starfall said...

How lovely..

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful child sadly missed