Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Ways to Help--Part II: The Erin Project

New entry belowI I am continuing to leave the announcement of The Erin Project here as a reminder that we need your love, your photos, your memories or characterization of Erin, and your story!

November 4, 2008

A week or so ago, Erin received a card with a laminated maple leaf bookmark and some very kind words from Mary Nan Linnstaedter. Mary Nan had chosen Erin from the list of youth at our church as her prayer partner. Her note, like Mary Nan herself, was chatty and full of conversational tidbits: a most lively read. In it, she mentioned first meeting Erin as a three-year-old. Apparently, the Buengers and the Linnstaedters were at some sort of church event. Walter, Erv (Mary Nan's husband), and I were all tied up, busily doing something. Erin saw Mary Nan sitting alone and went up, introduced herself, and kept her company until we finished up. Mary Nan also told Erin she still had the key chain that Erin had helped make the year I chaired the church fund drive.

The point of this?

Six and a half years ago, when Erin started her treatment, we called upon our friends to nurture and sustain us. We broadcast an appeal to folks we knew to send us their photo. It made more sense to a five-year-old Erin to have a tangible sign of our friends' care, so we made a poster-sized collage of these photos and displayed it front an center during every hospital stay, every hard day of side effects, every low moment during treatment. We looked at it and saw abundant love.

We are now walking an even harder, and definitely less trodden path. And we know we are not walking alone. Some of you leave us messages and send us mail ("e" and "real"). We get a kind look and a pat on the shoulder when we see you. Even those of you who are silent and far away sustain us by your visits to "Erin's Home."

When reflecting on these two separate, but related events, it occurred to me that we needed to leash the power of these two vehicles and combine them to give us an even greater boost. Thus, we are launching The Erin Project.

I want to collect personal photos from as many Erin Fans as I can. I want Erin to browse through page after page of smiling, loving faces, knowing that each face reflects someone who cares for her deeply and wants her to beat this damned disease. I also want to collect tidbits from you about your connection to Erin. Those of you who know her, may have a favorite Erin story (detailed or brief) or recollection. If you only know her through these pages, you probably remember some vignette that captured your attention or imagination. We want to know what that was.

I will take your words and your portraits and build a web page called The Erin Project that she can access anytime (at the hospital, at school, at home) through her laptop whenever she needs a boost of energy, spirit, love, and sustenance.

Here's want you need to do (when I say "you," I'm talking to one each of you. Not just the ones who know us best. This applies to lurkers as well as those we see every day):

1. Send me a photo (by email:; by regular mail: 4138 Cypress Road, Bryan, TX 77807) of you and anyone in your family who thinks fondly of Erin. Send it with the Subject line: The Erin Project.

2. Take a moment to capture Erin in words (a favorite story, lingering memory, small vignette that captures her for you, even adjectives will work), and send that as well (you can do the written part as e-mail, regular mail, or as a web page comment).

3. While you are at it, tell us something about yourself. Erin loved hearing all your funny middle school stories and pet stories. She really loves people, so let us know who you are and what you are like. Tell us your favorite books, music, or shows. How do you like to spend time?

We will put your photo and Erin vignettes on the web, but keep the information about yourself for our enjoyment only. You can do this in stages if you'd like. Send a picture today and the written part later or vice versa.

The important thing is to do it.

We are currently about to finish the third book of Christopher Paolini's Inheritance series: Brisinger. In it, the hero can store energy that others provide him in jewels in his belt and draw on that energy when he is weakened or faces big challenges. Think of The Erin Project as your contribution to Erin's store of energy. She can draw on it when the road gets long and hard and when she struggles under its burdens.

Thank you.

Now, go and vote if you haven't already.


  1. Great idea, Mrs. Dr. B.! I know just the picture I want to send you if only I can find it since the move. Even though I don't get to see her often, Erin is in my heart and on my mind. She is just as special as we knew she was when she was just a toddler. HUGS to all Buengers. (Chet got my vote)

  2. sounds like a great project. We will def. send a photo your way.
    Can we also have a HUGE erin party too sometime? I think you'd have to rent out a huge hall! We'd all love to show up...


    I voted for the closest thing we have to Chet in The Woodlands, but I'm sure he's no Chet!

  3. I suspect the out puring from this blog entry will astound you. What a wonderful idea. If thoughts, prayers, and positive vibes could be translated into healing for Erin she would already have whipped this disease. She is one special little girl and she comes by it naturally as her family is truly amazing.

  4. will do Erin Project (promise) when we get home (Erik is scanning as I type).

    HAVE to say I laughed loudly in this here waiting room when I saw the photo of that sick pumpkin...funniest thing I have seen in a long time!!!! Boy cancer parents sure have a sick sense of humor, huh.

    Erin, please lead the way to a cure, will ya?


  5. Sent you an email .)

  6. Hi Vickie -
    I just wanted to let you and Erin know that I have to leave Elle at home this time. Mainly due to the fact that there are only 7 girls on her 6 a side soccer team. I just think it's too cruel to let her miss unless she absolutely has to miss. She wanted to come! But, only two more games and now I'll know where to find you. We'd be happy to come up for any reason at all. So long as we're not in Philadelphia at the time.

    See ya tonight.

  7. What a great idea! Once I find a picture to send, I'm on it!

  8. This is such an awesome idea! I've sent in a letter with everything that you asked for.
    Good luck!

  9. Hi Erin it Layla from califonia and I pray every night for you im 10 years old and I go to the school were your aunt Quin Thornburg teaches and she tells us about you a lot and I hope you get better so you are one of my heros because if you can stand a tumor I can stand ANYTHING Feal better


  10. dear Erin,hi my name is tyler i am ten years old in fith grade I herd about you from school your anut told me in music class i hope you feel better I will pray for you get better.


  11. Hi Erin--
    You may have noticed that I shared your story with one of my fifth grade choirs. I really, really like these students!!! Some of them have been in my class for 3 years.
    Several of these 5th graders have told me they are praying for you. One had a good idea for something to send you........
    Remember when you came to Houston for our ETM conference? You loved those little horses. I loved holding you in my lap and singing with you!!! That was a very fun day!!
    Much love--
    Aunt Quin

  12. Hi!! It's Ashley from camp! I am totally going to try to do the project but i am not so sure how to upload pictures to my email! i am so glad yo are doing well!!!!!

  13. I Knew Erin For Only A Few Weeks. She Always Kept A Smile On Her Face. This Is A Good Idea. I'll Always Will Remember Erin. She Made A Difference In My Life. She Gave Me Hope And Faith. Sometime Soon We Should Have A Big Dedication To Her. I Miss You Erin.!

  14. Hello,
    My name is Abi
    I have recently heard about Erin through a friend. I Know how yall are feeling right now, its not fun at all. Before i was born my step sister was diagnosed with leukemia. My step father said it was so hard... just keep hanging in there.

  15. Hello,
    my name is Sarah. I live in South Africa and have watched Emma's video tribute to Erin, on Facebook.
    What an amazing tribute to a gorgeous, courageous, wonderful girl.
    I am reminded how God asks us to choose life, and as I look at how Erin did - I can see the joy she must have brought so many, and I am so encouraged.
    May God continue to bless and comfort you as you must miss your little girl so much.

  16. Erin i just wanna let u know that you were my first friend in mary branch and thanks for showing me how good of a friend you are!!!

  17. the message above is from cedaisia

  18. i miss you Erin. R.I.P babygirl. You stayed strong as long as you can... but the cancer got the best. You'll always be in my heart<3