Category Archives: Hope

So far, so good!

Dear Family, Friends, and Supporters all over the world! 

Wow–it’s overwhelming to hear how many people are following Lance’s story and supporting him.  There are literally people all over the United States and in countries all over the world praying for Lance.  On behalf of Lance and Francine and both the Snyder and Costa families, I very sincerely and deeply THANK YOU!!!!! 

I know several people have said to me this week, “I heard Lance began treatment on Monday.  How’s it going?”  I realized there hasn’t been an update since.  So, I decided to jump online and bring you up to date.  

Praise God–Lance is doing wonderfully, both emotionally and physically!  So far he has he not had any adverse effects from the chemo or radiation.  Actually, there has already been an improvement!  The terrible pain he’s had in the left side of his face has finally has started to subside!    

One of my dad’s friends wished Lance a “strong start and a triumphant finish.”  What a beautiful sentiment and picture of hope and victory…A strong start he has had indeed!  Lance has been a champ.  We are so proud of him! 

Again, on behalf of Lance and Francine and both of our families, I wish you and yours a very blessed Thanksgiving.

With much love and deep gratitude for each and every one of you,               Lance’s sister, ashley ♥

Today is a gift.  That’s why we call it the present. 

Going all in…

By Ashley (Snyder) Frankis

Today was a special day at our church and also in Lance’s life.

Today marked the end of a series in our chuch called:  CANNONBALL:  All in and making waves.  The idea is that we should dedicate our whole lives, our whole selves to God.  Everything–our time, money, priorities, and gifts; everything we should align with the purposes of God.  We are called to go deeper into the upward calling of Christ.

The thought of going off the diving board and doing a cannonball into the deep end might seem exciting, wild, and freeing; or it might seem scary.  But, regardless, it requires a decision to go forward, all the way; you can’t just do a cannonball part way.

Today marked the end of the sermon series, but the beginning of this new initiative and vision to go all in with God and to make waves, thereby affecting and impacting the lives of others.

I sat in church this morning thinking about Lance and how today marks the end of a period in his life and how tomorrow will be the beginning of his cannonball.

Since Lance’s ER admission on Friday, October 8th, he has gone through a multitude of tests and appointments and a very serious surgery.  There have been many questions, discussions, phone calls, visits, cards, meals, gifts, and prayers.  There has been so much, so suddenly, so unexpectedly, but SO COURAGEOUSLY!!

Lance has been REMARKABLE.  His attitude has been amazing; his disposition strong and courageous.  He’s had a quiet confidence and humble demeanor about him.  He has truly been filled with God’s grace and peace which transcends all understanding.  He is a living testimony and witness to the Living God.  Bless you, Lance, as you move forward into tomorrow–to day one of treatment.

We are right there with you, Lance, in person and in spirit.  We pray that God would continue to strengthen you, protect you, and heal you.

Tomorrow morning Lance will first take his oral chemotherapy and then go to Shadyside hospital for a 9:30am radiology appointment.  Family and friends, would you please sometime tomorrow morning find a quiet moment for Lance.  Lift him up in prayer.  Please also remember Francine, Mom, and Dad as they walk with him.  Let us then just be still, be quiet, stop thinking, and simply listen.

Word of God speak…

A twist of fate keeps tugging a sister’s heartstrings

I (Ashley, Lance’s sister) would like to share a little story with you to take you deeper into the heart of Lance…

This past summer, my family–Bob, Garrett 9, Julia 8, Ryan 7, and I–spent a couple months at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.  We enjoyed day after day of water, waves, sand, surf, and sun until 1:00am on Sunday, July 25th, when we had a little emergency of our own.

Ryan, then 6, had a seizure.  (While it caught us off guard, it didn’t come as a complete surprise.  Ryan was diagnosed as an infant with a congenital brain malformation; we were told back then he had a 50/50 chance of developing seizures.)

Ryan was transported by ambulance to the local hospital and then flown to A.I. Dupont Hospital for children in Wilmington, DE because of its remarkable pediatric neurology department and because he had been in a seizure for a dangerously long time–1 hour and 45 minutes.

When Ryan woke up later that same morning in the pediatric intensive care unit, he asked why he was in the hospital and how he got there.  We briefly explained to him that his brain “paused,” just like a DVD, and stopped communicating to his body and that he wasn’t able to respond to anything.

“So,” we said, “you had to be taken to the hospital, first by ambulance then by helicopter.”  Ryan’s next question was, “How am I getting home?”  We told him “in Daddy’s car, which is here because we had to drive up separately.”  Ryan, who happened to be born on 9/11, LOVES rescue vehicles, and–quite ironically–had prayed with me many a time for the men and women who work all night to keep us safe, said very seriously, “Well, that’s not fair; I want to go back the same way I came–first on a helicopter, then on an ambulance!”

Well, Lance, upon hearing what Ryan said, without delay, called up a very small airport in Western New York and hired a helicopter to take Ryan for the ride he didn’t remember.

This is where evidence of God’s orchestrating all of these events comes into play.  Our entire “Snyder Family”–Mom, Dad, Morgan, Cherie, Joshua and Abigail, Parker, Kasia (with baby on board!), Lance, Francine, my five–and my mom’s sister Vikki were due to travel to Chautauqua Lake, New York for a family reunion on Saturday, July 31st–just six days away!  (Chautauqua is where, back in the 80’s and early 90’s, my family owned a condo and we spent many wonderful weekends together.)

Ryan was discharged from the hospital on Tuesday, July 27th.  We went back to the beach to pack up.  On Thursday we traveled to our home in Maryland and on Friday, the 30th, we were on our way to Pittsburgh!  (Thank God Ryan took well to his medicine; there was no time to play around with that if we wanted to make the trip.  And for those of you who know me and how deeply I love my family, I was determined to make the trip!)

Another disaster we managed to avoid, believe it or not, was a tornado that came off Chautauqua Lake and right up through the “M” building of Chautauqua Lake Estates, leaving our old condo with the most damage!  This tornado happened on Saturday, July 24th, the day before Ryan’s seizure.  Had my parents booked condos in the “M” building, for old times’ sake, we would never have made it to the reunion either.  You see, God definitely wanted that reunion to happen!

Ryan in helicopter

Lance not only made Ryan’s wish come true; he gave the entire family an opportunity to ride in a helicopter!  Would you believe the first three up in the air were Lance, Ryan, and I?  (This is a small miracle in and of itself, as my last “wild ride” was with Bob on a roller coaster about 16 years back that left me on the couch for days!  That was literally the last time I willingly got on a nauseating ride just so I wouldn’t look like the wimp that I am when it comes to such things!)  But, when it came to having the first honorary ride with my brother and my son, there was something compelling me to go for it.  I did and am I ever glad!

Lance in helicopter

Up in that helicopter, to my surprise, it was quite calm and relaxing; not nauseating at all.  (It was also very symbolic, as we flew over all the areas we used to explore as a family back in the day.)

Up, high above the trees and lake, above seemingly everything, the following scripture verse kept coming to mind:

Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.  Is 40:31

Ashley, Lance and Ryan with Co-Pilot

Ashley, Lance and Ryan with Co-Pilot

I knew then, in my heart, more than a simple propeller was keeping us in flight.  I also believe now, looking back, that God was preparing my heart for what was to come…

So, when I got Mom’s call on Friday, October 8th, telling me that Lance was admitted to St. Margaret’s ER and would be transported to Shadyside Hospital where there was a highly esteemed neurological department, you can imagine where my mind went–back to July when it was my son in the neuro ICU and back to August when it was Lance who made my little boy’s dream come true.

Ashley in helicopter with Ryan

Lance, I only wish I could now, in turn, make it all better for you.  While I can’t, I know who can.  And He, who carried us in flight that day, still is holding you this day.

Lance, I believe in you.  We all do.

Family at Institution

Family at Institution

More than a pumpkin

My wife Kasia says hope carries on the wings of a butterfly. It’s an idea she borrowed from her sister-in-law, Cherie. Where Cherie heard this delightful bit of wisdom, I know not. But it’s true: butterflies carry hope. And not just any kind of hope. Real hope, the kind you feel watching a bed sheet dancing in the sun-shine while pinned to a clothesline that holds aloft the butterfly. There are thousands (you’ve seen them haven’t you?). Tonight, before you go to bed, look for them, as they take their rest on bed-posts or head-boards or drawer knobs all over the United States, and Britain, and Poland, and Argentina, and Switzerland, in the thousand odd places they’ll fold their wings during God-our-father-we-thank-you and take flight upon the words, goodnight children.