Parents Perspective

A "Pointless" Update on the Mom With 8 Months to Live

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Last November we featured a guest post from a mom named Tori Tomalia: "3 Kids, 6 Lessons, and 8 Months to Live:  A Lung Cancer Story." In May 2013, Tori, of Ann Arbor, Michigan, was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. At the time, she had a 4-year-old son and twin daughters who weren't yet 2. Through extraordinary fortune, her aggressive treatment plan has worked for nearly two years.

But when I got an email from Tori a few weeks ago with an update, I was almost scared to read it. Instead, I found myself laughing out loud (see the image at right). Tori and her husband Jason have made a huge decision: They're opening an improv theatre and brewery. See, they've both been involved in the theatre for a long time; they'd even talked about opening their own space back on their very first date. Meanwhile, Jason has gotten into microbrewing in recent years, and they've decided to join those two passions. As Tori put it, "We realized that if there was ever a time to pursue our dream of building something together, the time was NOW."

The name comes out of a particularly rotten day Tori was having. Chemo was getting her down in a major way, and she asked Jason the question I can imagine goes through everyone's mind when they're enduring this kind of all-consuming, exhausting, painful treatment: "What if I go through all this, and it still just ends up awful? What's the point? Everything just feels so pointless." Jason responded, "Okay, maybe it is all pointless.... So let's do this. Let's open a pointless brewery and theatre, and make our pointless dreams come true." Tori explains, "It's the perfect name. How often do we waste our days doing what we are supposed to do, looking the way we are supposed to look, saying what we are supposed to say. You get up, rush to work, drink coffee to stay awake, work hard to get ahead, stress over deadlines, all for what? What is the point of that? If you knew your time were limited, wouldn't you spend it doing things you love, and spending time with the important people in your life? When it comes down to it, all that matters is the people you get to meet, spending time with the ones you love, and bringing joy to the world. Everything else is pointless."

It's one of the most inspiring, life-affirming reactions to a horrible situation I've heard of. I was so excited when I learned that Pointless Brewery & Theatre is on Kickstarter, because I bet lots of you feel the same way I did: Sign me up! If you'd like to help Tori and Jason make their pointless dreams come true, consider donating this week--in another happy twist, a kind donor has committed to match every pledge that comes in by this Friday (up to $5,000). They need to raise a total of $50,000 and as of right now they're at $31,409. Any amount will help, truly --  and if they don't get to $50,000, all donations will be refunded. Please take a minute to watch their funny, emotional video here (it's different from the video below) and I guarantee you'll want to chip in.

Kara Corridan is the health director at Parents and a mom of two daughters.

One Family's Experience with Childhood Cancer