I’m on deadline, but I gotta tell you about my shirt.

And really, I just want to tell you about the shirt so I can tell you about Qiana.

You say it “key-ah-na.”

12360009_935644399823257_1101351462031197518_nShe’s this girl who works at our son’s daycare.

Well, worked.

She used to work there.

She was diagnosed with this rare cancer a few months ago. Squamous cell carcinoma of the throat. They thought they’d be able to surgically remove it but they couldn’t, so …

Anyway, she’s been on chemo for a little while now and had to quit working. She’s also a senior at East Carolina University, majoring in elementary education. She’s been on chemo for a while.

It really sucks. For Qiana, most of all, obviously. But it sucks for a lot of other people, too, because Qiana is awesome.

She had this event tonight at the Chick-Fil-A in the mall. Every purchase, 15 percent went straight to her, to help pay for treatments and necessities. Cancer is expensive to fight, and she’s too sick and weak to work, so she’s losing income, too.

15094436_1482852308395682_1577387459567735111_nLike I said. Sucks.

But here’s the thing about Qiana. She was there at Chick-Fil-A. She stayed there the whole time, from 5 p.m. when the thing started to 8 p.m. when it ended. She wore a wig. She was skinny, and the cancer and the chemo have been giving her a hell of a hard time, but she was beautiful for how she just kept smiling.

Somehow, she looked happy.

Qiana wasn’t feeling well, but she had to be there, just to say thank you to whoever came out.

Hundreds came out.

Someone who had her over to dinner recently told us that Qiana feels really weird spending any of the donated money she’s gotten on anything other than chemo treatments … even though she needs to, you know, eat and pay her bills and stuff, and since she can’t work right now.

So yeah, that’s Qiana.

I figured our kid would remember her. He freaking loved Qiana. He loved all the women that ran that class. Susan, Theresa, Qiana, were the main three, though. He aged out a few months ago, but his new classroom is right beside theirs, and there are still mornings that he will cry because he wants to go to their class instead of his new one. And his new one even gets to watch movies.

But I didn’t really expect her to remember him. She’s dealt with probably hundreds of toddlers at the daycare and she’d already said “thank you” and many other nice things to many dozens if not hundreds of other people by the time we saw her last night.

And yet, when Qiana saw Jonah, she laugh-cried, and apologized for crying, and for not being at daycare anymore, and when he hugged her, she laugh-cried again, and she said, “I’ll be back.”


And look, I know we’re all busy and have a million things to do, so this post isn’t some kind of gung-ho let’s-help-this-chick passive-aggressive guilt trip post. No, I just wanted to tell you about someone I thought you might want to know about, and let you know how to help if you wanted to help. She needs rides, if you live in Greenville. She’s not allowed to drive right now. And she needs money.

The kind of girl Qiana is, she can’t even ask for donations without offering something in return. She and her roommate/best friend Erika are selling these T-shirts.


But not just any T-shirt. I’m wearing mine right now and it is amazingly comfy, and actually fits right, to the form and not all billowy like those cheap ones, and it’s suuuper soft, and I really like wearing it. So much that I forgot to take it off after going to her event tonight.

She could’ve also picked any old thing to go on there, but she chose something that is just so Qiana. She chose her middle name, but not to be narcissistic or something, but rather because of what her middle name says: Joy.

The shirts are black with simple white writing on the chest: J O Y

They’re like twenty bucks.

Last night, after Chick-Fil-A, I went to Starbucks on Greenville Boulevard to work. My barista dude was like, “How are you?” and I was like, “I’m good, how about you?”

And he was like, “I’m good, gotta be happy, right? I like that. That’s bold!”

And I was confused. And then I realized I was still wearing my JOY shirt.

So I went to sit back down and work on my story but then I couldn’t really, until I’d written most of this.

And then when I went for a refill he gave it to me free.

So my point is, go buy you a shirt.

Help Qiana.

Spread some joy.

And maybe get free coffee.

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3 Responses
  1. Brandon — Thank you for letting us know about Qiana. I had the exact same cancer 13 years ago, and I know she is in for a tough time. I bought five t-shirts and I hope it helps. She seems like a very nice young lady.

  2. Robynne

    I had the pleasure to have qiana as my Co teacher! She truly lights the room with her radiant smile and spirit! I love this girl with everything and was sad when she headed off to ECU! This truly breaks my heart but I know God has a plan and she is faithful! I love you kiki and am always praying!