Mercy Me! I've got work to do.

Mercy Me — I've got work to do! making the world a better place – starting with me.

Be a part of change for Blaine


I never really understand why bad things happen.  I just know that they do.  When I wrote to you last week about an 11-year-old girl fighting a reoccurrence of leukemia in Show some heart for Blaine, I figured that was one of those bad things that defy explanation.

I didn’t know that the day after I posted it would get worse.

No matter how many different ways I have tried to write the next sentence, I cannot find the right words.  I guess I feel like if I write them, it will make them true, and I badly wish they were not.

Blaine’s dad died.

The next sentences I write are really no easier.  I am not going to say that this is all part of God’s plan or that if we all pray hard enough we can heal the broken hearts left behind.   Maybe those things are true.  I don’t really know.

I don’t have words to package this tragedy with the adornments of hope and faith.  I think it would be unfair to Blaine and her mother to do that.

Of course, I believe her faith will get her through these dark days and I have tremendous hope that she and Blaine will in their lifetime have their hopes fulfilled.  But right now, I say they cry.  I say they scream.  I say they throw plates at the wall.

It’s really terribly awful to lose your spouse or your parent.  They were already dealing with enough bad that they didn’t deserve.  They didn’t need more.

But so it is, for whatever reason, they have more.

We can theologize about their suffering, try to rationalize and analyze it.  But we will never really understand the why of childhood leukemia or the why now of her dad’s untimely death.

The reality is brutal.  They are suffering a tremendous loss.

When I read the Bible verses that you chose for Blaine’s fight against leukemia, I think how relevant they are now with the loss of her dad.  More so, I love that we showed her the goodness of strangers when unbeknownst to all of us she would be faced with another significant hardship.

My birthday is this week.

I started this blog on my last birthday, my fortieth, because I truly felt compelled to do something that mattered.  It didn’t have to matter to the world, but it needed to matter to me.

The journey brought me to Blaine’s fight with leukemia.  I came to know her through prayer.  She personified hope and the scriptures you shared embodied generosity.  These things matter a great deal.

I know you were probably not going to buy me a birthday present, and I forgive you for that.  It’s funny too because the things I want most in the world really are not things at all.  Truly, just by your willingness to go on this journey with me, you have given me a priceless gift.

Still, I am going to ask you for more.

I am going to ask you to make a donation to Blaine.  If you would just give $11, one dollar for every precious year that Blaine had with her dad, it would matter.

You see, the harsh reality of death is life goes on.  Blaine still has to battle leukemia.  Her mama still has to pay medical bills, the mortgage and all those other unrelenting expenses that dwindle away our bank accounts.  She had to do all of this before, but now she has to do it without her husband.

Still, she doesn’t have to do it alone.  We could help.

I realize there are tremendous needs in the world and we are often bombarded with people wanting donations for very worthwhile causes.  But maybe there is a reason Blaine’s story found you.  For me, I can’t help but wonder why it found me through a childhood friend who was looking for a Bible verse to encourage Blaine’s fight.  I was inspired by her story.  I wrote about it and asked you all to share your own message with her.  The next day her dad died.

What am I supposed to do with that?

We are all going to experience tragedies in our life.  This is not my tragedy.  I know that.  But I am in a position that I can help somebody in the midst of their suffering.

There is a quote by Margaret Mead that I have always loved and thought of many times over the past year. “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

I think sometimes we all feel a little bit insignificant.  We don’t realize how the simplicity of kindness, decency and generosity – even from strangers — can change the world. It’s a lofty concept considering the minimal effort involved in being kind, decent and generous.

Still, I believe if you change one person’s life, you change the world.  If you make someone’s life better, the world will indeed be better.

In my last post, I asked you to show some heart for Blaine by leaving a Bible verse for her.  More than ever, I welcome you to leave her a special scripture or encouraging thought in the comment section of this post.

Consider, too, making a donation of just $11 to help ease some of the financial burden of their situation.  Sometimes we need to pray for one another, and other times we need to be the answer to their prayers.  In this case, we can be both.  This time let’s not just show some heart for Blaine.  Let’s show her how a small group of thoughtful people can share love and I dare to say, change the world.

If you would like to make a donation of any amount there are two options:

Please make donation checks payable to “Sun Trust Bank for the benefit of Blaine Baxley” and mail to St. John Lutheran School, 1915 SE Lake Weir Avenue, Ocala, Florida 34471-5894 or donate online at 

Also, if you are interested in offering a favorite scripture or any other encouragement for Blaine as mentioned in Show some heart for Blaine you can leave it the comment section of this post and I will make sure she gets your kind words.  

For future updates or to subscribe to Mercy Me! I’ve got work to do.  please sign up or like the Facebook page at Thanking you for reading, for making my world better and for whatever way you to choose to support Blaine in her fight.   


Author: Lara Patangan

Mercy me, I’ve got work to do… is a blog I started on my 40th birthday to chronicle my experiences spending the year doing corporal and spiritual works of mercy. No longer on the cusp of a new decade, I am still here finding that much work remains – in the world, my community, my relationship with God and perhaps most challenging, within myself. Please sign up and join me as we share the work that matters most – being better people. In hopes that when the decades cease to pass the world will still whisper of the graces left in our wake.

12 thoughts on “Be a part of change for Blaine

  1. Love that I’ve found you through all of this. (Kelley’s friend, Kara)


    • Thank you Kara. Kelley has some amazing friends! I am so inspired with what you are all doing for Vanessa and Blaine. She sent me a picture of that prayer book you are putting together and I was I awed! If I had to put that together it would be on lined index cards with markers and would like a kindergartner did it but somehow wouldn’t even be that cute! Seriously, though it is an honor to help with this.


  2. Just donated online to TEAM Blaine.. super easy and quick..
    Thank you Lara for sharing this family with us.
    Our family will be praying for Blaine and her recovery.


    • Thanks Diana for being part of this. It is remarkably easy and quick to donate online. Mostly, I love that we are showing them that they don’t have to go through this alone. While I wish, they didn’t have to go through it all — knowing they are covered in prayer and goodness has to bring a measure of peace and how badly they must need peace right now. Thank you for being so wonderful 🙂


  3. Beautfully said. We have been praying for this family weekly in our Small Group. Just a group of people that attend One Life Fellowship and know that praying for one another and sharing our needs and blessings from The Lord are so important. The needs are many and the prayers are so easily to do but a small donation can give a moment of help for another one of God’s Family. Take the time. ❤


    • Thank you Patricia! It is so important for us to help one another whether its through prayer or a monetary need or simple kindness. I think most of us have been on the other side of hardship and remember how others kindness helped pull us through. This is not the time to pay it back — but pay it forward.


  4. Beautiful post! Thanks for helping out Team Blaine! Vanessa and Blaine are so very dear and loved by all.


    • Kelly,

      I can tell how loved they are by their community and they have snuck into the hearts of this community because we are all praying for peace and healing. You all have been truly inspiring and I wish everyone had that kind of community. Thanks for showing us all how it’s done!


  5. Beautifully said! Although I do not know this sweet family personally, I am deeply saddened by their touching story and would love to help any way that I can. I too am a mother and can not imagine the heart break of watching your child suffer daily with Leukemia, while dealing with the sudden loss of their daddy/husband. Will gladly donate online and continue to pray for this sweet family daily. Love and prayers, Lisa Kelly


  6. Lara, I am a monkee (you’ll see what I mean in a moment) and a sorority sister of Vanessa. Today, through a few twists and turns I found out about Blaine and Vanessa’s recent loss of her husband. I haven’t seen her in years (nearly 20?), yet when I saw the post and her picture, I remembered how amazingly kind and beautiful Vanessa was inside and out. Then, by happenstance (or not?) I read my favorite author’s blog post today (ok, she might be my idol). Glennon Melton is Maybe you have heard of her and what the monkees (her “followers”) do over at that amazing blog. But in a nutshell, we belong to each other, making sure that love wins!

    As I read my daily dose of G, I realized today she had a guest writer, Michelle, who was talking about the need to raise money, awareness and support for childhood cancers. She tells the story of her son’s fight to beat cancer and how heart wrenching it it. What?! I was just reading about this over at your blog (which I found from Kara, my other sorority sister). I posted in the comments on today about your blog and Vanessa. I really have no idea why, but it was just too coincidental that this all happened in the span of a few hours. Someone is telling us something?! Maybe we can make Vanessa and Blaine’s journey just a little easier somehow. Off to make my donation now and thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Shelly


  7. I am off to donate $11, albeit for a slightly different reason than Blaine’s years with her dad.

    I’m donating eleven dollars – one dollar for each birthday my late daughter Olivia had. Her legacy and belief is that everyone gave ONE dollar when asked to donate, the collective impact would be huge.

    One dollar, for each year of her short life. *Coincidentally (or not), tomorrow is the date the doctor would come to me to tell me she was going to die.


    • Wendy,

      I am so sorry for the loss of your daughter. Your heartache weighed heavy on me last night when I was trying to go to sleep. I prayed for you. I don’t believe in coincidences as much as I do connections. I think they are a powerful way to see God working in our lives through one another. Olivia sounds amazing to have such a perspective on the power of what we can do when we unite in goodness. I believe in her legacy and the huge impact of small gifts. I admire your strength, your willingness to share and your contribution in honor of your daughter for the comfort of someone’s elses. I will continue to pray for you.


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