NASHVILLE - The loss of a child is often more than a parent can bear. And while it can be said that the emotional toll on a mother and father can't be put into words, it can also be said that the toll taken on siblings is easily underestimated.
Children who suffer from a long-term illness often require treatments that take parents out of the home.
Sisters and brothers find themselves trying to stay the course, most often left in the care of relatives or close family friends while parents take on the new roll of full-time caregiver. Day by day, the siblings face the uncertainty of what tomorrow will bring without the daily comfort of mom and dad to reassure them everything will be alright.
That was the case for much of the time that little Patrick Froehling battled cancer.
Patrick, the grandchild of Marshall County resident Grace Forte, underwent months of treatment in Nashville, while his siblings Isabella, Nathaniel and Aiden, worked to maintain normalcy, attending school and trying to remain strong. They served as a support network when called upon, staying strong for mom and dad and most of all, Patrick. The children even wrote lyrics to a song which was set to music and dedicated to their brother.
After several months of intensive treatments, lengthy hospital stays and emotional ups and downs, two year-old Patrick lost his battle with cancer.
Since that time, Erin and Keith Froehling have tried to begin to put the pieces back together, despite their "little warrior’s" absence.
Both say it's their faith in God and that has gotten them through, crediting the strength to find themselves as peace even in the midst of such tragedy.
In light of what the family has been through, Erin and Keith are reaching out to the community for a little help this holiday season.
No, it’s not packages under the tree they are wishing for – it’s the chance for their little heroes to meet someone they think of as a hero, someone who holds God as close to his heart as the children have to theirs throughout this difficult time. The children would like to meet Tim Tebow.
“During any child's battle with sickness, if they have siblings, the siblings have to fight too. They are also called to be warriors in this world. Sometimes the sickness affects the siblings more than we think,” notes Erin.
“There isn't an organization out there to help make siblings wishes come true. Since Patrick was a toddler, he couldn't say, I love the Jets. I want to meet Tim Tebow. How about a UK game? Patrick just wanted to fulfill his purpose ~ which he did.”
Froehling says that her other children have fulfilled their purpose as well, standing as “brave warriors” for their brother.
“They fought. They gained love and now they understand all too well that sometimes God's plan isn't exactly what we desire. But, they do know that all things work for those who have been called according to His purpose.”
Froehling says she wants to give something back to her children who have given so much, but making this happen for them seems to be beyond making a simple phone call.
The mother of four is hoping that through a letter writing campaign, and communities pulling together, she can make this dream come true for the children.
“Please help me do this for them! The Jets are playing in Nashville in December," she explains in a public plea for help. "Please help me write letters to Tim asking him to meet with Isabella, Nathaniel, and Aiden for a few minutes while he is in town. For those who knew of his story, You can share with Tim how the kids and Patrick's journey have impacted your life. For those that did not know the family, but would like to help, please send a letter asking Tim to consider helping make this dream come true for the children.
You can write Tim Tebow by mailing a letter to the following address:
New York Jets
Attn: Tim Tebow
1 Jets Drive
Florham Park, NJ 07932
“Please include: Patrick's Everyday Warriors on the outside of the envelope! Also, you can mention in your letter than he can communicate with me directly at
and check out our group: Prayers for young Patrick F.”
The family asks that letters be sent no later than Nov. 30.
Groups are encouraged to participate as well, the more the better!